'It was my dream to open my shop.'

But for Papa, a WAVS School graduate, that dream did not come easily.

 


PELUNDO, GUINEA-BISSAU – He’s gone by the name “Papa” his whole life, but soon he’ll be a father for the first time.

Papa Mendes, 32, and his wife are expecting their first child in a few months. But in Guinea-Bissau – one of the world’s smallest and poorest countries – providing for your family isn’t easy. The education system is in tatters, the economy is fragile, and steady jobs are rare.

But Papa is determined. Every morning, he rolls off a thin, plastic mat that passes for a bed and walks out of his 10-by-10-foot mud-brick room. Outside, about 20 feet away under a shade tree, he lays out a handful of tools on a metal table, cranks up a generator, and goes to work.

Papa is the village welder. It’s not a glamorous job, but Papa couldn’t be happier.

“It was my dream to open my own shop,” said Papa, flashing his constant smile. “My dream has now turned into reality.”

That dream didn’t come easily.
 

Read the rest of Papa's story

Help more students like Papa achieve their dreams

 

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West African Vocational Schools
p: (559) 825-1771

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