Marwa’s four-year-old birthday looked slightly different than other four-year-old birthdays. She still had several of her best friends and cousins running around with cake in their hands and singing “Happy Birthday.” But instead of inviting her friends to bring gifts in celebration of her birthday, she asked for money to “Send Sam to school.”
Sam was the student she gravitated to when Marwa and her parents looked at students who needed sponsorship on the Friends of Ngong Road website. Her parents think she connected to him as a peer because he looked younger than the rest of the students. Marwa loves school and wanted Sam to also have the chance to go to school too.
It wasn’t without the nudging of her parents, however. They recognized that Marwa as an only child was experiencing holidays centered around herself. Birthdays and Eid celebrations all unintentionally included a focus on what material item she would unwrap. They wanted her to focus on more than presents at celebrations and to learn the joy of sharing. So they taught her about kids not having the chance to go to school. They looked through pictures on the Friends of Ngong Road website together and excitedly talked with Marwa about what a great choice she was making to invite her friends to bring money for school instead of presents.
The day came, and Marwa had a big decorated box for her friends to drop their gifts of money. When she presented it to Lacey, the Development Director at Friends of Ngong Road, she proudly shook the coins in the box exclaiming that it would help send kids to school. Her smile said it all when Lacey said Sam was now going to be going to school.
Marwa got a taste for sharing and helping out friends across the world. Her birthday wish came true and Sam was going to school. He has since been sponsored full-time by another family, and Marwa plans to help send another child to school on her birthday next year.