When she was 12 years-old, Martha was forced to leave her biological family in the Volta Region of Ghana and move halfway across the country to live with a foster family. Her parents could no longer afford to take care of Martha and her five siblings. In her new home in Mpobi, she was forced to sell onions early in the morning before school, and in the afternoons when classes ended. As a foster child, she was treated differently than the other children in the family, but she was a good student and made good grades, despite having little free time. When it came to to take the test to enter senior high school, her foster family told her they couldn't afford her education, and besides, they needed her to continue selling onions and contribute to the family's income. But Martha had tested well and gained entrance into Tamale Senior High School, an excellent boarding school where she would be able to continue her education. There was no money for her to pursue that dream, and her foster mother told her to either attend the village day school or learn a trade. Despite having the money to send Martha to school, the family refused. They believed that as a foster daughter, Martha's role should be to work and bring income into the family. They were willing to pay for their own children to attend high school, but not Martha.
At this point, Rising Village Foundation stepped in to fund Martha's tuition at Tamale Senior High School, where she graduated with honors and was given the opportunity to attend college - providing she had the funds. Martha's dream was to become a nurse, and she was admitted into Nursing Training College. Rising Village helped her with the entry fee, and the staff in Ghana are sourcing funds from various organizations and nonprofits to keep her in school.
Martha is a brilliant young woman, and so I'm donating the proceeds from my book to Rising Village to help her continue nursing college. Most of my memoir centers around the seamstress apprentice program and the transition of that program from Ghana to the U.S., but there are students still in the Rising Village Education program, and Martha is one of them. I'm so inspired by her tenacity to rise above her circumstances and chase her dream. Martha's dream doesn't come for free. She needs help to make it happen.
I wrote Move the Needle because I wanted to have my part of the story documented between the covers of a book. That was my dream. Now I want to take the fulfillment of that dream and pay it forward. Please spread the word about a good read for a great cause!