Buy a cup of coffee or tea from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Minarets Media Lounge during the MHS Student Showcase, and not only will your need for caffeine be filled, but the $2.50 to $5 spent on it will also benefit Hanifa Imoro "Kubi" coming all the way from Africa to attend Minarets High School in January.
"Koffee for Kubi" is the brainchild and senior legacy project of Minarets senior Brett Hendrickson. He is working with the non-profit group, Etheridge Educational Outreach out of Coarsegold, to make Kubi's dream a reality.
"The community should come out and support this because it benefits the community," Hendrickson said. "It's about paying it forward and people investing in themselves and others."
Kubi, a 16-year-old from Ghana, lost her parents when she was 11 and now lives with her brother, Abu, sister Rubi, their grandmother, and a little boy named David who they took in after he was found in the bush and never claimed. Abu was 17 when his parents died, forcing him to drop out of school to take care of his siblings and 87-year-old grandmother.
Abu is now 22 and used to walk 4.9 kilometers every day to make money for the family. They lived in a grass thatched roof hut, carry water from the river, cooked on charcoal and have no electricity. Because the floor of their hut is made out of a mixture of concrete and cow manure, the heat causes a terrible smell and the combination creates carbon monoxide, forcing the family to sleep outside on the ground. After a night on the hard ground, the children then get up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for school and walk the three miles there. Many times they are only able to eat once a day, twice at the most.
Kubi always had a dream of becoming a medical practitioner, but has become passionate about the issue of female genital mutilation in her village. Because of that, she wants to pursue a career in investigative journalism to "unmask the barbaric act by some people, in different parts of the world," she writes in her Etheridge Educational Outreach biography.
When Carlene Schrank learned Abu and Kubi's story, she wanted to make a difference and see them both come to America to further their education. After verifying their story through contacts she knew in Africa, she came up with the concept of Etheridge Educational Outreach and started the non-profit organization to help Abu and Kubi and other children in need. She chose EEO's name because Etheridge was her Uncle Grady's last name. Even though he passed away, his wife, Myrna, continues Etheridge Ministries in Africa -- a ministry she and her husband started years ago. Schrank started her own outreach to give people like Kubi and Abu a chance at a good life.
"These kids in Africa don't have that chance without somebody helping," she said. "I want him (Abu) to get an education and perfect his English so he has a better chance of getting a good job when he goes back."
If all works out as planned, enough money will be raised to bring Abu to America to finish his education and get an apprenticeship.
"By helping him to get his goal, it will provide money for his family," Schrank said.
The plan is also for Kubi to attend Minarets from January through June. Later Schrank hopes to help Kubi through college in Ghana.
Abu and Kubi are the first children EEO has worked to bring to the United States, but Schrank hopes there will be many more.
"Once we have these four kids taken care of and their goals met, our goal will to be help other kids from difficult circumstances either here in the U.S. or maybe a Haitian child," Schrank said.
However getting Abu and Kubi over to the United States is not cheap. She is working with Inter-Ed to get them student Visas. Jon Corippo, director of Minarets Charter High School, is working alongside Schrank and Hendrickson to make Abu and Kubi's trip to the U.S. reality.
"The partnership allows our students to work on complex, real issues with adults," Corippo said. "It also gives our kids perspective, which is priceless."
Hendrickson said he decided to take on fundraising for this as his senior legacy project because he wanted to help an organization that had a tangible product.
"A lot of non-profits are about awareness, not progression, but with this you can actually see the people you are helping out," he said.
Hendrickson has been busy working as project manager to help Abu and Kubi come to America. He also created the website, as well as all the publicity posters and scheduling of events.
"It's not just about changing a life or a pity party for one person because they're less fortunate, it's really about benefiting Minarets as a school and hopefully branch out to other schools," Hendrickson said. "Kubi lives in an area where there's mutilation. She wants to come to America to get the skills to go back to Ghana and fight against bad customs. It's not just about helping one person, it's about helping a huge community."
Anyone interested in donating to the cause can visit eeoutreach.weebly.com