• Eric Von Barnau Sythoff

Seeing Generational Change Happen

Updated: Oct 15




Initially, we had the modest educational goal of helping our Passion orphans just finish Primary school, then it was to see them qualify for, afford, and then complete Secondary school. We were elated when the first two Passion students qualified for and graduated from college!


We believe that next to the gospel, Education has the greatest positive impact on the life of an orphan. As the gospel introduces orphans to God’s great love for them in Christ, it also begins to heal their sense of loss and teaches them that God is for them and has a different future for them. Education helps open those doors to that future. Specifically, post-secondary education and training make generational change a reality. Not only is the cycle of poverty broken, so are the chains of defeat and hopelessness, as real skills, professions, and marketable trades are learned.


Emmanuel is just one of the many stories of hope and generational changes that are happening through our post-secondary students.


When Passion came in, it gave me hope. My motivation was restored.”- Emmanuel B.


Emmanuel entered the Passion Center program when he was in Standard 8, but his life before then was very difficult and he had to overcome many struggles even before this time. He lived with his father, mother, and 5 siblings until Standard 4 when his father abandoned the family and chased them all out of the home. This forced Emmanuel’s mother to move their family back to her mother’s home village in Zomba. By this time, the family no longer had a home or land to stay on because they did not expect that they would ever return. They managed to find a very dilapidated room that had no roof, but they were in very bad shape, with no means of support.


Emmanuel was enrolled at a new school, but it was very difficult for him to stay in school because of a lack of basic needs such as food, clothes, and school supplies. This caused his classmates to mock him and he often went home crying. He also felt a deep sense of responsibility now that he was the “man of the house.” He soon dropped out of school so that he could help his mother with piece works and getting food for the family, but after some time, his mother encouraged him to go back to school. He went on to finish Standard 5 and began Standard 6, but eventually dropped out of school yet again and tried to find piece works due to similar challenges.


His family then moved to stay with their grandmother, but she had a very small house with no room for the whole family. His mother began to mold her own bricks to build them a home. Emmanuel would help when he could, and they managed to build a small house with a thatch roof. It leaked badly during the rainy season, but they finally had their own home.


Later on, his mother encouraged him to go back to school. This time, they decided to change schools hoping that things would be better at a different school. He transferred to Mulunguzi Primary School where he completed Standards 6 and 7. In Standard 8, his teachers noticed that he was an intelligent child but was struggling due to a lack of support. He couldn’t afford the small fees required by the school. Because of this, he was in danger of failing his final examinations.


After hearing his story, some concerned teachers at the school brought him to the Passion Center for help. After assessment, Emmanuel and his 3 siblings were enrolled in the Passion program. Emmanuel recalled, “When Passion came in, it gave me hope. My motivation was restored.”


With the support of the Passion Center, Emmanuel went on to secondary school where he performed well and is now in his third year at Nkhoma University where he is studying for Education, Language Studies. He is now looking forward to graduation so that he can earn an income and support his family as well as contribute towards improving the quality of education in the country. He shared, “If it was not for Passion Center, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would have dropped out of school and all my dreams would have been wasted.” He is very grateful to God for the care and support he has received from the Passion Center.


View Emmanuel's sponsorship profile here!