Sumaila’s Life Story:
A Dedication to Education

Zakat Foundation of America’s beneficiaries come from dozens of different countries on five continents. They speak dozens of languages and have unique upbringings based on the villages or cities they’re from, the man-made and natural disasters in their area, family members l​​ost, and more differences that make them who they are.

Our representatives talk to them to learn more about who they are, what they need, and how they can work to create a sustainable, financially independent future. Our representatives often summarize the stories to share with our team at headquarters, where our team gathers the story, photos and even video to create a complete telling to the best of our ability. In the case of Sumaila Awudu, he told his story so well that we wanted to share it as-is.

In his own words

Sumaila Awudu: Life Story

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I was 8 years old in third grade when my father passed on.

Since he was the bread-winner, everything was gone. As Muslims, we say alhamdulillah in all circumstances.

Life became tough and I was sent to Bawku in the upper east region of Ghana to stay with my grandfather and half-fathers [brothers to my father]. Instead of sending me to school, they sent me to learn a trade in motorbike repairs.

But since my childhood days, my dream was to be a teacher. I loved to teach, so I decided to come back to Kumasi — where my mother lives — so I can go to school. It was not easy, though.

I had to use one exercise book for all the subjects in school. In fifth grade, I remember I was sent home because I could not pay my weekly school fee. 

I thought it was the end for me. But Allah sent a guardian angel by the name of Zakat Foundation. This was when I was in junior high school. I say alhamdulillah. From then, they really took care of me — from junior high through secondary school. That time, there was no free education in Ghana at the senior high school level. Zakat Foundation helped pay all my fees, including tuition and boarding, books and pocket money. In fact, they did all this free of charge.

I remember in 2010, during Eid al-Adha, the coordinator, Mr. Salia, organized a party for us. The party was one of the most memorable I have ever attended because on that day, I was given a gift. It was a chain watch sent by donors, which I cherish so much and still keep today.

From there, I moved on to further my education at the Mampong Technical College of Education and finished with a diploma in basic education, and was then offered a job to teach at Sefwi Akontombra in the western region, which I did for three years.

After that, I decided to further my own education and am currently doing my B.S. in Information, Communication Technology (ICT) at the University of Education Winneba-Kumasi campus.

I believe I am a good student. I was the Electoral Commissioner in the school during an election to choose student leaders for the school. I am also currently the project manager for this noble school.

Today I am secure, safe and happy, and have a bright future. Glory be to Allah for all he has brought to me, and thank you Zakat Foundation for supporting me.

I am Sumaila Awudu. Congratulations to Zakat Foundation on their 20th anniversary. Allah bless them and give them a good heart to continue to help and support the poor and needy like myself.

Ayeeko [well done].