Scholarship Student Heads Toward a Bright Future
–Edison Toe, Current United Methodist Women Scholarship Recipient
Edison Toe is a Liberian refugee residing in the Budumburam Settlement Camp in Ghana. Edison was separated from his family during the Liberia civil war, and has lived with a foster family at the Budumburam camp for the past decade. He completed high school at the camp in 2008, but for three years afterwards could find no support to attend college. Thanks to United Methodist Women, Edison is now in his second year of college at Pan African Christian University in Ghana. He plans to return home to Liberia after graduation to start an educational non-profit for children and youth.
Below, Edison shares his story with United Methodist Women:
I am Edison D. Toe from Liberia, residing at the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana, West Africa. I am forever thankful to United Methodist Women for giving me a chance to pursue higher education. Today, I am a sophomore in college pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management at the Pan African Christian University College in Winneba of Central Region, Ghana. I have also been elected to serve as the General Secretary for Liberian Students Association in Ghana. I am developing as a leader and serving my community and country, thanks to United Methodist Women’s commitment to eradicating poverty through education.
I want to use this opportunity to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to United Methodist Women members for their spiritual and financial support toward my education. I am so grateful for the wonderful support you are giving me. I know that I cannot pay you back. But the one thing I can assure you is that I will do my best to make you proud.
Fleeing Civil War
Unfortunately, since 2000, I have not seen my mother or my siblings. My parents are from Liberia and were both United Methodists. My father was a high school teacher while my mother was a day care teacher. However, my father died during the Liberia civil war in the late 90s. I have a total of nine siblings. Not knowing the whereabouts of my mother and siblings troubles me a lot. I always ask myself whether they are alive or dead. I am praying and hoping that one day I can see them to have a family reunion.
During the war I was fortunate to escape to a neighboring country, Ivory Coast, through the help of others. Life was not easy for me because I was not with my parents and had no relatives there to help me. I was on the street for two years. I cried many days for food, clothes and shelter. Because of the war I never enjoy my childhood. I was always worried about the whereabouts of my parents and siblings. I had not been in peace until God brought me a family that started taking care of me. After years of living such a difficult life, this family that did not know me at all accepted me as their adopted child. This is how my life started changing.
In 2003, war broke out in Ivory Coast, and my adopted family and I fled to Ghana. It is here in Ghana that I completed my junior and senior years of high school education. Nevertheless, after I completed high school, my adopted parents could not afford to send me to university. There was no money to enable me to acquire a higher education. This troubled my parents a lot.
The Scholarship Program
One day after service, one of my church members told me about the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) scholarship program. I quickly applied, but was told my application was late and would be considered for the next cycle. Because I am eager to learn, I waited patiently till the following year. And it brought me so much love and joy when I was told that United Methodist Women had approved my application and will sponsor my degree program.
Since receiving the scholarship award from United Methodist Women, my life has changed. I now believe my dreams are a possibility and my vision can become a reality. I chose to study Human Resource Management because from my research I understand that Liberia does not have enough human resource managers. The country is in need of people with knowledge in human resource management. Since the function of human resource manager is to help with recruitment, selection, training and development, my country is in need of such personnel to move the national development agenda forward. Thus, this degree will provide knowledge for me to help meet the human resources challenges in my country.
Dream for the Future
My dream is to provide education to children, youth and teenage mothers. To achieve this I plan to establish a day care and recreational center in my home country. Both centers will serve as a place where kids and youth will grow and learn in a safe space. The children will be trained to be innovative and creative.
Since I became a scholarship student, I can afford books, meals and focus on learning. I am also serving as a volunteer in my church, school and on the camp. I could not achieve this without your support. I am so happy to be recognized by the Liberian student’s body in Ghana. I believe it is a stepping stone to higher and more committed leadership. Your scholarship has granted me a place at the national level, meaning I am becoming known in my country. It has also provided me the opportunity to meet great people and learn from them. I am making great progress in life, thanks to you!
With the opportunity that United Methodist Women has given me, I see a better, brighter, healthy and successful future.