A Father Raises His Kids on $2 a Day

Sponsorship allows a widower to envision a better future for his 8-year-old son.

The number 2 probably doesn’t mean much to 8-year-old Fellow Kpodo. He doesn’t know that $2 a day is his single father’s income. Fellow’s daily life is made up of different numbers that better tell his story. They reveal his poverty but also his hopes.

5 in the Morning

It’s 5 a.m., and Edoh, Fellow’s father, steps quietly around the mat on which his two sons sleep. Edoh hovers over them for a moment, wishing he didn’t have to wake them. But chores need to be done, and Edoh likes to at least see all of his children awake before he leaves for his job as a driver. This wasn’t the life Edoh envisioned for his family. He wishes it were his wife waking their children. But she was struck by a car and killed when Fellow was 3, leaving behind a husband so broken by grief that the daily tasks of feeding and clothing his four children seemed impossible.

12-Minute Walk

Once Fellow is up and dressed, he sets off on the 12-minute walk to school with some of his schoolmates. His schoolbooks are stuffed into a blue and white plastic shopping bag. He likes the walk, and he likes to be able to go to school. Fellow’s school is made of thick sticks, and on windy, rainy days the children crowd toward the middle of their room to avoid getting wet.

$6 or You’re Out

During French class, Fellow notices the headmaster making his rounds. He walks into each class, consults a list, and sends home the students who haven’t paid their fees for the quarter. Fellow remembers the times he was sent home because his father couldn’t pay the $6 fee. But he knows he won’t be sent home again for not paying his fees. His Compassion sponsor’s support helps cover his education.

$2 a Day

At home Fellow lights the family’s charcoal grill. His sister will cook cassava (a root) and canned tomatoes. This will be the only meal of the day for Fellow’s siblings and father. Although Edoh makes sure his family always has food, there is rarely enough. “Raising my family has been very hard,” Edoh says. “Half of my pay goes to rent. I can usually buy groceries only two weeks out of the month. The rest of the time I put it on credit. I don’t even know how much debt I have. I just do what I can to feed my children.”

1 Sponsor, 1 Child

Because Fellow is sponsored in Compassion’s program, Edoh feels a little less pressure. He sees Fellow’s sponsor as a partner. They’ve never met, but they have the same goal to provide a path out of poverty for Fellow. At his Compassion center, Fellow eats nutritious meals. He also receives Bible lessons, health checkups, tutoring and enjoys playtime with friends. After Compassion activities, Fellow walks home to do homework. He has seen his father grow happier now that sponsorship has taken care of some of his needs. For Edoh, the relief is priceless.

Updated and reposted from a previous issue of Compassion Magazine.


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September 2017

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A Father Raises His Kids on $2 a Day

Sponsorship allows a widower to envision a better future for his 8-year-old son.