I am an Economics Instructor at Foothill College. Sheriff (Sam) Phatey took my Microeconomics class last summer and I recognized he is an extremely talented and caring individual. The only barrier was time. Sam was working two jobs – 100 hours per week – in order to survive and send a bit of money back to his family in Gambia. He even had to miss part of our final exam due to work. He never complained or revealed any of this … it was only upon my inquiry after the course ended that I found out. I mention that as a clue to his character.
Turns out Sam was an outspoken critic of the Gambian military rulers growing up … and fled in 2008. He has been granted indefinite asylum in the US. He dearly wants an education but also must survive on his own – and, again, help family back home.
I asked him where he wants to be in 10 years and here is part of his reply:
“I owe it to the people to galvanize like-minded young Gambians to bring about change. We can because we are such a small nation; we just need the right people. All this starts with us getting an education. This is my pursuit of happiness. I don’t just want to live the American Dream in America, I will love to see my people live the same dream in Gambia and with me living alongside them.
This is my life’s mission and I hope it will inspire a generation of changemakers across the continent to do same and only then, can we achieve a prosperous Africa in which everyone can live in dignity.”
I believe in Sam. I am hoping a large group of us can provide him a bit of support so he can at least drop down to ONE full-time job! He will be taking a full course load at Foothill College as of this Fall (2020). This money will get him through this quarter and I am looking for internships or other employment opportunities beyond that.
Your donation will provide opportunity to a young change-maker who has the capacity, personal skills, and dedication needed to potentially impact many lives in the future. Please help me provide the one thing that so many good people lack: opportunity.
“Hello Professor:I got the funds. Thank you so much. Thank you for helping me and by extension my country and its people. Thank you for trusting and believing in me and providing me with the guidance to advance my education. I never thought I will get this kind of help to succeed in life and get my education. I will keep working on my grades and ensuring that I maintain the A streak I have started. I won’t disappoint. I have taken the commitment to go through school and use my education to better things in The Gambia. We have started this together and you will see it materialize.
I cannot thank you enough.
(Part of) my response:
” I am only trying to provide you a bit of the opportunity that everyone in the world deserves. YOU are the one doing the work by taking advantage of it. As long as I see you making continued progress I will be there to help as I can. I am sorry that you do not have free tuition as we originally thought you might get – and I am sorry our Go Fund Me funds are now depleted – but they have gotten you off to a great start. Hopefully your financial aid essentially pays your tuition going forward – and you are able to maintain a full course load (I guess you must to get aid) and good grades while limiting work to ensure you continue to get A’s and B’s (again, don’t pressure yourself to get straight A’s – it is too much to ask when you have to support yourself). I can kick in support as needed – let me know if you need a computer or something – but, again, it is not an unlimited pot of $$ and I have other causes. I am banking on you to transfer, get your degree, and then go back to help others in The Gambia. In the long run, my money today will be helping, perhaps thousands of young Gambians in the future!!! That would be a tremendous return on investment! ”
Thank you all – have a great 2021!!