By Mike Tenbusch | August 26, 2020
Ever since the pandemic hit in March, our board has committed to ensuring that no family in any one of the nine communities in which we work in five nations will go hungry. The International Samaritan community worldwide has helped to answer this call.
As we struggle here in the U.S. to figure out the safest options for our children to return to school this year, IntSam’s scholarship students in other nations are struggling to attend school on-line without the tools to get on-line. Over the last few weeks, we’ve created the IntSam Global 5K to help them get the tablets they need to stay in school.
Karen is one of the students I visited in Honduras last year, and she wrote us recently asking for our help.
I am 16 years old. I live with my mom and my two younger siblings in the El Ocotillo community of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
My life has been difficult from the beginning. I had to work at the age of 6, washing other people’s clothes. My mother cannot read or write. She works at the municipal garbage dump, recycling materials such as cans and iron. With what little money she makes, she buys water and other family necessities. Thanks to International Samaritan’s food support since last March, she doesn’t have to worry about buying food. It has been a great blessing to our home.
Throughout this pandemic, the area in which I am struggling most is in my studies. When our schools closed in March, I was nervous because I had never had this experience of learning online. I struggled with getting connected because I don’t have a cellphone. At first, my older brother lent me his phone so that I could connect to my classes. But this was a challenge because if he wasn’t home, neither was his phone. This really set me back in my coursework, and I had to talk to my teachers to give me a chance to get caught up.
Now I’m using my sister-in-law’s phone to catch up on my overdue work and my current assignment. However, it’s still tough because the phone doesn’t have much space on it and it’s starting to break.
They haven’t said anything yet about us returning to school. On Thursdays, our class receives lectures, and during the week we have homework assignments, research, video presentations, and hand-made projects to do. All of my assignments require technology.
For Internet, my neighbor actually has WiFi, and I pay them 100 Lempiras ($4.00) a month to use it. I’m able to make these payments through the support of the Paso a Paso program. Without this support it would have been even more difficult.
With Covid, my mother has not returned to the garbage dump. She did this so that she could offer me more support by staying home and also taking care of my younger siblings. Her staying home really helps me focus on my studies, because before, I would be the one responsible for the household chores and caring for my siblings when she wasn’t home. With her being home, I can dedicate my time to my studies.
I thank GOD for the opportunity that the International Samaritan’s Paso a Paso program gave me for the scholarship over the past years. I was able to enter eighth grade with the scholarship, and I am taking advantage of this opportunity that they gave me to continue studying. I am currently in 9th grade; I know I can have a better future.
Karen, standing in front of her home.
Karen with Andrew Pawuk and me at her home during our visit last year.
Karen’s broken phone.
Please help Karen and 464 other scholarship students like her by Joining the Race to get every student a tablet who needs one. Together with our team leaders in each nation, we have determined that a tablet will give our students better options than a phone at less than the cost of a laptop. The average cost of a tablet across five nations is $300, so we created the race as a fun way to raise the $140,000 needed for 465 of them.
Please know that we are continuing to make sure all of our families have enough food and water to survive. Our board members and long-time donors continue to step up and step in to make sure their needs are met. As a community, we will have covered almost a million dollars in unexpected costs this year because of the pandemic. And these scholarship students need your help now on this vital need to access their school work.
Please run or walk in solidarity with them.
Please give or raise $300 to cover the cost of one tablet.
Please lead a team or join a team to cover at least five tablets with friends, family members or co-workers.
We will get through this together.
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