Rosa's mother works in a rock quarry. She is determined to give her daughter a better life.

Growing up in Guinea-Bissau, Rosa’s mother and her family depended on the harvest. There was no time for an education. And hence this became her lot in life: hard labor to keep a family going. 

Without an education, this woman’s hands have only grown more coarse over time. Besides harvesting peanuts, she also breaks rocks and sells them to construction workers. At the local rock quarry, she methodically works through a seemingly bottomless pile of rocks each day – striking them one at a time with an iron rod – as she sits under a sliver of shade to guard her from the African sun.

The rock quarry where Rosa worked to earn tuition money so she could become an English teacher. Her mother has also worked here for much of her life.

A generation later, not much has changed: In this tiny corner of West Africa where two out of three people live off less than $2 a day, you must work hard just to survive.

Rosa’s mother, a widow raising seven children, wanted more for her daughters and always encouraged them to pursue an education. But when Rosa, her youngest, asked for money to study English at the WAVS School, she was heartbroken to turn her down. Feeding her children was all she could afford.

Rosa graduated from the WAVS School English program in January. She is now a high school English teacher.

But Rosa found a way. Even though she was just starting high school, she also joined her mom to work at the rock quarry. With the money she earned from breaking rocks, Rosa enrolled in an English language course at West African Vocational Schools. Thanks to WAVS Teacher Sponsors who help cover the cost of the course, the fees were affordable for Rosa – less than $10/month.

“I knew that if I work hard now, I can achieve my dream of an education and a future professional job – not breaking rocks in the rock quarry,” Rosa said.


Read the rest of Rosa's story

Help more students like Rosa achieve their dreams

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