MBB is intimately involved in the lives of the women and girls we work with. Yes, we support over 1,000 girls in primary schools, 240 more on high school and college scholarships, 100 women entrepreneurs, and another 120 in adult literacy classes. But numbers alone can’t convey our impact: stories can! What you’ll read here are the stories and voices of women and girls in Haiti and South Sudan who are rising above poverty and living their gifts.
Seeds for Future Generations
Giving back is an important part of leadership and a desire we instill in every MBB Scholar. In South Sudan, our scholars give back to their communities in many ways: they visit prisoners, help disabled adults in their villages, and tutor younger students. They also come up with unique, inspiring ways to pay it forward. Three MBB Scholars studying at a high school located in a desert have initiated a tree-planting campaign to beautify their campus, provide shade, and improve the environment. The Scholars reached out to the United Nations and Windle Trust International to obtain donated seedlings, then motivated their entire senior class to participate in planting, watering and protecting the young trees. MBB salutes their leadership!
Flora, Mading and Nakang with the first of the young neem trees they planted on their campus.
A Resilient Scholar: Johanna’s Story
16 year-old Johanna epitomizes Mercy Beyond Borders’ work in Haiti. Slender and quiet, she’s an excellent student who lived in a small mountain shack with her grandmother and extended cousins– a whole 2-hour walk from town. She lost her mother at an early age and her father during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and thus could not afford to pay for school. Today, she is a proud recipient of an MBB high school scholarship and lives in an MBB Lodge in town. Without that awful daily commute, she says with a shy smile, “I now have time to study and to make friends my own age.”
ohanna (in green top) with her grandmother and cousins in the mountains of Haiti
Following My Dream
Rebecca says, “I was born in a time of war in South Sudan. Rebels burned houses, took our food and clothes and pots, and kidnapped children. During many months we had to live in the IDP (internally displaced persons) settlement because the villages were too dangerous. I paid my school fees by growing and selling cassava.
When I learned about the pre-nursing internship program sponsored by Mercy Beyond Borders, I signed up immediately. Despite resistance from my brothers, my mother encouraged me to follow my dream. I willingly traveled to far-away Kuron, where the culture and language were unknown to me. During the internship I once took care of a man with a snakebite who had walked 7 days to reach our clinic. His hand was horribly swollen and infected. After 3 weeks he recovered and told everyone, ‘This is the doctor who saved my life!’ I am excited now to be in nursing college on a full scholarship from Mercy Beyond Borders. My dream is coming true!”
Rebecca administers polio vaccine in rural village
I Jump for Joy!
“I am Rebecca Yar Yak, a leper without toes or fingers. In my village, I was treated like a rotten cabbage, good for nothing. Through MBB’s Adult Literacy Class, I met many women who accepted me, treated me well, and helped me realize my own worth.
I participated in all the activities in the class. To my surprise, I discovered that I, too, have talents. I can write the alphabet and numbers, and I can compose songs– a talent I had not developed before coming to class. So I’ve decided to give back and become a teacher for other lepers like me.
I am also contributing to my country by composing songs about HIV/AIDS, and the government uses my songs as a teaching tool about the disease. When I hear my voice on the radio, I jump for joy. I, Rebecca who used to be worthless and invisible to people, am now giving life to others through my songs.”