Ebeneza Teferi - Newham Youth Services
Youth worker from Newham sponsors the education of two children in Ethiopia!
Newham youth worker Ebenezer Teferi has pledged a sum of money to sponsor the education of two street children in Ethiopia – the same sum he received from Jack Petchey several years ago which enabled Ebenezer to turn his life around. “When Jack Petchey gave me a grant to help fund my education, I made a promise to myself that when I completed my studies I would pay back all the money to help other young people in their time of need.”
Ebenezer grew up in Plaistow, East London, where he saw many of his peers steer in the wrong direction towards crime, drugs, and gangs. Ebenezer, who has Ethiopian heritage, said he felt he was destined for failure too; he had poor grades at school and found himself working 12 hour shifts in MacDonald’s just to get by.
Ebenezer grasped at the opportunity to volunteer as a youth worker on the notorious Gascoigne Estate in Barking, and was offered a place to study Youth and Community Studies at the YMCA George Williams College in Canning Town. Unfortunately he didn’t have the resources to pay the student fees and despite his aspirations, it appeared he wouldn’t be able to take up the position on the course. However, Ebenezer was given financial backing by the Jack Petchey Foundation, enabling him to enrol and obtain the qualifications he desired.“I couldn’t believe that someone would give me money and not want anything back. I thought it was a loan or something, but I was told it was a grant from a man who just wanted to give back to his community.”
It has been ten years since Ebenezer received the grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation. In that time, he has graduated with a 2.1 from George Williams College and worked as a senior manager in several youth centres across London. Ebenezer, who is now 29, has also set up his own printing business, and has recently become involved with the Dale Carnegie Youth Program.
Re-investing the grant money Jack Petchey gave to Ebenezer is something he is passionate about, and he is determined to see that it helps people less fortunate than himself. After visiting Ethiopia in 2010 for a wedding where he saw children as young as 5 begging and working on the street, Ebenezer decided to sponsor the education of two brothers Befeker Degu 12, and Yeabtega Degu, who is 7. “I have decided to invest the money in something close to my heart. With the incentive of my sponsorship, I hope Befeker and Teabtega will win scholarships to university and in turn continue to give back to their community. Jack Petchey's good deeds are now helping people in Ethiopia.”“I met the two boys through my family connections, and was blown away by their maturity and desire to work hard. Although they have missed terms in school, having not been able to afford the fees, they would work twice as hard to catch up and were achieving better grades than some students who could afford to attend school all year round.”
The contribution made by Ebenezer, who hopes to visit Ethiopia again in 2014, will sponsor the boys through two years of education, which costs roughly £350 per year each. If there are funds left over, they can be used to purchase further educational materials and new school uniforms.“I feel like this will be a small contribution that can hopefully make an impact similar to the one Jack Petchey had on me. I hope that they would gain a fair education and fulfil their desire to become successful and hopefully give back to other young people less fortunate in the future.”
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