For the past 4 years I have been sponsoring the private school education of Chantel Maina, at Kingsmead School for Girls, one of the best private schools in Johannesburg South Africa. She is one of our Larraine Segil Scholars and now, having graduated brilliantly from high school she is studying to be an Actuary at the University of Cape Town. I was also fortunate to support her when she was accepted as a Yale Summer Scholar in STEM some years ago when she spent a summer in the USA.
Chantel and her family are from Kenya and have been living in South Africa for many years. They have been waiting for their immigrant visas to South Africa to be approved for over 5 years. They are still waiting. Chantel's father has a very small business selling African artifacts (miniature statues and the like). The South African Government has instituted a complete lock-down due to the Coronavirus. Chantel and her family are not eligible for government assistance. There is no money for food.
We had an All Network call this week at 5pm PST. Chantel, in Johannesburg, set her alarm for 2am and joined the call.
One of our EWA's and member of our Board of EWA, Subash Samuels, a Partner with KPMG in Los Angeles, is also from South Africa. She heard from Chantel of her plight and sprang into action. She and her husband Balram own and run a farm near Johannesburg (called www.bodhgayashanthi.com or Gaya Farm) and feed thousands of orphans at multiple orphanages daily, staffed by at-risk women who find solace there. Within 6 hours she arranged for enough food for a month to be delivered to Chantel and her family, and they in turn divided the food up to give some to other families in need nearby.
The power of EWA and the network reaches many people in many places - this is what Chantel wrote today - and the photos she shared! She asked me "how can I pay this forward?" I gave her the same advice I have always given her since she was a 9th grader when we met and she won the scholarship I awarded to her - "Excel in your studies and achieve your dreams - and one day you will become the Minister of Finance of South Africa and be in a position to make miracles happen for others." #EWA