Being the eldest of her siblings – and her family being one of the poorest in her Darfur village – Matida, 13, sacrificed a lot during her early childhood. She spent her days on household chores and cooking for her family. She assumed that education was exclusively for those who can afford school fees, clothing and other basic needs – that it was not for children like her and her bothers and sisters.

Matida’s family never tried to get her into school. They believed that if they did, they would inevitably be unable to pay at some point and she would have to end her studies. They didn’t consider it worth wasting time and effort on something destined to fail.

One evening as she was coming home from collecting water from the well, she saw boys and girls of her age coming out of classrooms holding books and chatting excitedly. Matida asked them what they were doing in school as it was supposed to be a holiday. They said they were there for extra study. She knew some of them and this raised her curiosity. She asked those who she knew where their families got money to pay for their studies. “It’s free,” they told her, “because it is provided and sponsored by an organization called War Child.” Not only were lessons free, but the textbooks, notebooks and other supplies were too.

She was overwhelmed by happiness and hope, and there and then vowed to join them. The following day she went to the school and enrolled.

Now, a year later, she is reading and writing and learning numbers. “I believe education is the key of life,” she told us. She says that she is going to be a teacher so she can help other poor children like her to have a better and peaceful life. She says she will always be grateful for this opportunity and wants to pass the gift on.

You can pass on the gift of education, too. Even a modest gift of just $25 a month can help a child go to school. A gift of education is the gift of life. The children of educated mothers are twice as likely to reach their sixth birthday. Please give now.

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