Adu Worku, library director at Pacific Union College, spells EDUCATION in capital letters. It has changed his life. And now he is helping other young people in Ethiopia to obtain an education that will change their lives.
Worku was born into a culture of subsistence farmers and became the family shepherd as a child seven years old. When he was 15, he suffered a serious eye injury and had to walk 50 miles for treatment at an Adventist clinic. While there, he saw an elementary school with children in the learning process. He yearned to become one of them. Local Adventist missionaries came to his aid and enrolled him, and he graduated from First Grade a few months later. Age, 15-1/2.
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They encouraged Worku through the following years of education and eventually he was able to come to the United States where he has worked his way up the educational ladder. Today, Worku has earned three Master of Arts degrees and been given an honorary Ph. D.
It was from that journey through the world of learning that Worku became dedicated to the dream of bringing a school to his village in rural Ethiopia. He knows what education has done for him and he wanted to see others begin that journey.
The task began with raising $426,000, a major chore for someone who was not an experienced fund-raiser. That was a success story in itself, but it was just the beginning for a project that has consumed three years of Worku's life.
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Worku obtained the grant of 15 acres in his home village. He facilitated design and construction of a complete school campus from home in Angwin, California. It consists of several classroom buildings, a science building, a library, bathroom complexes, an administration building, and an assembly hall. It was completed a year ago, and today 450 students are enrolled. That number is expected to grow to 1,000 within five years.
Worku's contractors dug a well for fresh water, and installed solar panels on all the school buildings to produce electricity. Those are new and marvelous phenomena to the surrounding villagers.
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Now, Worku is working on an expansion. He wants an industrial arts building and a curriculum to train young people to earn a better living as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and computer operators. He has started raising the money, and has already located a foundation that will match up to $30,000 of what he can raise toward that program.
A story of vision and practical planning, which will give hundreds of teen-agers, year after year from now on, an EDUCATION, spelled in capital letters.