The One Surprising Thing You Can Give a Poor Child

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Have you heard of Jelani Aliyu or Seyi Oyesola? How about Mohammed Bah Abba or Omowunmi Sadik?

They all have two things in common: First, they are Nigerian. Second, their inventions have changed the world.

Jelani Aliyu is the designer of the Chevrolet Volt.

Seyi Oyesola is the co-inventor of CompactOR, also called “Hospital in a Box,” a solar-powered operating room which can be transported to remote regions of Africa and set up within minutes.

Mohammed Bah Abba invented the “pot-in-pot” refrigerator, a cooling and food preservation system that doesn’t rely on electricity, creating additional food stability for people who live in remote regions, especially in the desert.

Omowunmi Sadik invented biosensors that can be used to detect foreign material—like drugs and bombs.

Students and teachers at Holy Rosary Elementary in Nigeria have no bathroom and use snake-infested bushes nearby

The one thing that made all of this possible? Education.

So what on earth do bathrooms have to do with education and changing the world?

For Holy Rosary Elementary School in Ukpor, Anambra State, Nigeria: everything.

You see, Holy Rosary Elementary School doesn’t have bathrooms.

And this is dangerous.

Not just from a sanitation standpoint, though that would certainly be bad enough. (No bathrooms = open sewage, which means a higher risk of disease for the school and surrounding village.)

There is another risk, and it’s just as dangerous, though perhaps more odd than you would expect.

That danger is snakes.

At Holy Rosary, when the children can’t hold it anymore, their only option is to go in the bushes outside. But in those bushes lurk venomous snakes. And they’re not afraid to strike at the children!

One little girl, Stella, is only 8. She’s the snakes’ latest victim. Unable to hold it anymore, she rushed outside to do her business behind the bushes. It was there that she was bitten by a snake. She then had to be rushed to the hospital. Thankfully, she made a complete recovery after that, but her parents are stuck with medical bills they can barely afford.

Like most children at Holy Rosary, Stella did her best that day to hold it. She hadn’t eaten any food and she drank no water—all day. That’s what the students do so they won’t have to use the bathroom while at school: they don’t eat. They don’t drink. And if worse comes to worst, they go home to use the bathroom. When this happens, they almost never return until the next day.

Stella, 8, was recently bitten by a snake when using the bushes near her school.
Because they're so afraid to ever have to use the bathroom while at school, these precious children refuse to eat or drink before or during school. How can they learn when they're hungry and dehydrated?

How can children learn if they’re hungry, dehydrated, distracted by full bladders, or not even in school?

Sadly, most of them can’t hold it, especially the younger ones. So they have accidents or use the bushes. And as you can see from Stella’s story above—this is simply a dangerous solution with unacceptable dangers.

But there is good news: we can do something to help the students at Holy Rosary today! And it won’t take much for us to give this school the materials and resources they need to build a bathroom for the students. This new structure will be safe and enclosed. It’ll be free of snakes. It’ll be close by. And as a result, children will be able to focus on their lessons and stay in school. And who knows—maybe one of these children at Holy Rosary will be the next Dr. Oyesola or Dr. Sadik!

The whole bathroom project, from start to finish, will cost just $6,613.
Do you have $6,613? Great! You can fund this whole project right now.
Don’t have $6,613? No problem—there is still so much you can provide, no matter your budget.
  1. $278 provides all digging needed to build
  2. $306 provides all cinder blocks needed
  3. $111 provides 10 planks needed for construction
  4. $83 pays the plumber for his labor
  5. $47 pays for one toilet ($279 pays for all six!)
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$278 pays for all digging needed to build a new bathroom at Holy Rosary in Nigeria
$111 provides 10 planks for Holy Rosary to build new bathrooms
$47 pays for a toilet. $279 pays for all 6!

Other Ways You Can Help

While the bathrooms at Holy Rosary are the school’s most pressing need, there are other ways your help is urgently needed. You can make a big impact by giving in the following ways as well:

You can provide pencils and workbooks for the children.

There are 300 students at Holy Rosary. For many, basics like pencils and workbooks are beyond their families’ means. Some children are lucky to even have shoes to wear to school, much less the required school uniform. But this is one area where you can help and help quickly!

To give all 300 students two pencils and two workbooks, it will cost just $664.

Another way you can give is to help pay a teacher’s salary so more students can come to school.

There are only 6 classrooms at Holy Rosary and 6 teachers. In other words, in every class, there are at least 40-50 students! The students’ parents dream of being able to hire more teachers so that their kids can get a better education. These are the same parents who can barely afford school supplies or shoes, but they are also trying to find the resources to pay more teachers. These parents’ dedication to their children is truly incredible!

Holy Rosary wants to hire six more teachers. $300 is all it takes to pay all six teachers for one month!  $50 will pay for one teacher’s salary for one month.

Literally every dollar you give will make a difference. Together, we can do anything. We’ve seen it over and over again—when many people come together, and do a little, we can accomplish a lot. And Catholic World Mission donors are some of the best, most generous people in the world!

Give right now. Little Stella and her classmates are desperate for your help.

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