Ferguson’s desire to start a school in Africa arose from a travel abroad program at her HBCU’s alma mater, Howard University. The program was designed to take hundreds of students to the motherland to help them get in touch with their roots and learn about the rich history of Africa and their ancestors. Prior to that, the idea had never crossed her mind to even travel to Africa.
“I grew up attending majority white schools, was heavily influenced by American pop culture, and didn’t have an appreciation or understanding of African history. All I ever learned in K-12 school regarding Africa was that African American history started with slavery, period. Most majority White public schools will not go much further beyond that narrative, with the exception of February, where they’ll dabble into the life of Madame C.J. Walker, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King for the sake of Black History Month,” she said.
Rolling out spoke with Ferguson about her inspiration and how she was able to build a school in Africa.
What was your inspiration?
My inspiration started by attending Howard University and learning about the African diaspora, and [also] learning of a service trip that would bring students to Ghana and South Africa. This [trip] was not just for cultural immersion, but it was also an opportunity to do community service and give back. Something on the inside of me got really fired up and excited about this! I needed to go. But then I found out I missed the deadline for the application that year.
I still wanted to somehow give back. So, after days of research I came across a Howard alumna, Halleemah Nash, who [had] built a school in Kenya. I felt like God was telling me that this was the way I could also make an impact.
Tell us more about the school.
The school is located in a community called Melelo, Kenya. It took a total of eight months to construct.
Approximately 35-50 students can attend. The schoolroom teaches children in [third] grade, which ranges from children ages 8 to 11. The school officially started last year, so we don’t have any graduates just yet.
How long did it take you to raise the funds?
All together it took a total of four years to raise the $10K through WE Charity, an organization that aims to empower communities so that they can be self-sustaining.
We’re building a second school and funding a well to bring clean water to the community. It’s a continuation of the last fundraiser. The new goal is $20K to fully fund a second school.
I’m also working on planning the next trip to Kenya, while reaching out to companies for sponsorship. I want to spread the word as far as a I can about WE Charity and the ME-to-WE organization’s trips to Kenya. If anyone is interested, please contact me at [email protected]
View Ferguson’s heartfelt welcome below as she visited her school for the first time.
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I finally got to visit the school I built in Kenya! ❤️ There are no words to describe the embrace, welcome and gratitude I felt from Melelo, Kenya. I re-live it every time I watch this. I was told that I would be able to see my school, but not the children because they were on their winter break. Not only did all of the children show up, but their parents, the teachers, and whole community came out to welcome me to Melelo & as you can see I was in shambles. 😭 I’m still at a loss for words and so overwhelmed with joy. I’ll do my best to share this experience with you with more pictures & videos, but they could never do this moment justice. My life will never be the same. I’m so grateful and now understand why God wouldn’t let me give up on this vision He gave me. Thank you, Melelo. Asante sana.