The day that schools closed in Ghana due to the pandemic, many students welcomed a short break from their studies. But as the weeks turned into months, students became deeply concerned.
"It became unbearable for me," says Derrick, a medical laboratory student. "I wondered, how are we going to resume university? How are we going to study? We were on the verge of completing our studies, and then COVID-19 disrupted everything."
Derrick was registered at a Compassion center near his home when he was 9 years old. Through years of hard work and the support of the staff at his center, he had been able to attend university. But now his dreams of entering the medical field seemed at risk.
Most Ghanaian students can't afford the internet connection required for streaming online classes, and most institutions aren't properly equipped to facilitate online education. However, when the president of Ghana announced that university students would still take their final exams (with strict COVID-19 protocols), Derrick knew he had to find a way to complete his coursework.
"We had to compress four months' worth of studying into a few weeks," says Derrick. "It was extremely difficult, but we made it through by God's grace."
Now preparing for his upcoming graduation, Derrick says his 14 years of support from the Compassion center have been instrumental in his success at university. Since passing his exams, as a way of sharing his blessings, he has started mentoring sessions for children.
Margaret, director of Derrick’s center, says, "I am so proud of [Derrick]. I have watched him grow up and even though he’s exiting the program, he’s not leaving. All of our graduates will always be a part of our family here at the Compassion center."