This is Deo.

This is Deo.

His full name is Deogratias and it means “Thanks be to God”. His grandmother named him.

Sitting on the front lawn of the MAD guesthouse, Deo recalled how his journey with MAD began.

He is the youngest of three brothers and remembers the moment two Tanzanian women came walking into his village and offered to pay his school fees.

The two women were starting an orphanage and were searching for kids in the villages that weren’t able to attend school.

They soon became discouraged as they realized how challenging running an orphanage can be.

They asked MAD to take over payment of school fees and later with helping the children with meals, access to water, medical checkups as well as payment of staff. MAD essentially ended up taking all of the children under their wing.

Both of Deo’s parents passed away when he was 5 years old. His father died from lung cancer. His mother passed away from malaria.

He was enrolled in the MAD program upon leaving the village with the two women. In 2008, at age 12, he started to attend Royal, which is a local private school.

Deo was motivated to make a better life for himself, and very thankful for the opportunity to attend a private school with all of his school fees covered. He worked hard and did well in school.

Now, Deo is twenty-three and attends Newfoundland University in Canada studying biochemistry.

I asked Deo, “Has your vision changed since being a part of MAD?”

He said, “My vision has not changed because I just want to do good and help others.”

Deo smiled and gazed off to the side when I asked about soccer. Then he looked at me, let out a little laugh, and said, “I live with my international soccer team. It is a very good time”.

At University, Deo has also participated in Relay For Life, which is an organization that hosts events to raise funding for cancer research.

Deo’s life goals have transformed, as he once thought he wanted to be a doctor.

Now, he is pursuing biochemistry. His career goals may transform but one thing will remain: Deogratias will seek good and help others in his lifetime.

Thanks be to God! 

You can check out MAD’s Web site and profiles of the other children they help by going to: http://www.GoMADNow.org
Words and photos by travel writer Emilee Struss, @emileemaestruss.
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About gomadnowvolunteer

Make a Difference (MAD). An organization which provides quality educational opportunities to vulnerable children. #volunteer #scholarships #orphans #Africa http://www.GoMADNow.org
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