On Abs and Guts
Just a quick blog to encourage all members of our lovely EBC family to get behind our great man in Sierra Leone, Dr Abs Dumbuya!
There is still time to sign up for the afternoon of Saturday 22nd June when there is a “Feedback, Food & Fundraising” event at EBC, from 4pm to 6pm.
Recently a team of EBCers went out to visit Abs and they will be reporting back on what they got up to, how Abs is doing, and how we can continue to support this wonderful man of God!
Abs is a personal hero of mine, and the gutsiest person I know – yes, “Abs” is well named indeed!
At the age of five, living in what was the poorest country in the world, Abs was struck down by polio, losing the use of his legs. Abs knew that the only way to escape a life spent begging on the streets (for there were NO disability rights out there) was to get the best education possible and thus give himself a chance of employment against all odds.
Abs was going to school at the Freetown Cheshire Home and has told me, first hand and in a matter-of-fact way, that getting there meant crawling on his hands and knees with his book bag around his neck. There are tears in my eyes as I write this.
He then, after outgrowing the school with his God-given intellect, began applying for places in Universities overseas. After many rejections, finally a place was offered and Abs was made aware of this by a lady at Loughborough University by the name of Margaret Atkins.
Margaret allowed Abs to believe that there had been some sort of bursary or special funding for him but in fact she had told her own mother, Mrs Dorothy Springer of Abs’ plight. Dorothy pledged her full support for Abs’ education and accommodation (running to an estimated £80,000 or more) on the condition that Abs was not to know. Only when Dorothy passed away did Margaret reveal the secret to Abs. Can you imagine his reaction?!? (Uh-oh, more tears!)
By now, Abs had a Doctorate degree in Engineering and was well set up with a good job at the Transport Research Laboratory in Bracknell and had found a new church home – EBC!
However, he was determined to pay back in some way the generosity afforded him by Dorothy Springer. To make a long story short, Abs gave up his hard-won life in England, returned to the desperate conditions of Sierra Leone, set up a charity in Dorothy’s name (The Dorothy Springer Trust, or DST) which gives disabled people a high level of training in I.T. skills and helps them into employment with their new-found competitive edge!
Along the way, through constant lobbying and persistence at the highest levels of Government, Abs has begun to secure sweeping changes in rights for those living with disabilities and is now exploring how he can better offer representation and legal recourse for people so disadvantaged.
Further, Abs has become the Chairman of the Freetown Cheshire Home and is determined to bring it back to its “Glory Days” (great idea for a song title!) as he remembers them from his childhood. To this end, a new complex, funded in part by EBC, has been built at the home and it is the final touches to this that Abs desperately needs help with.
Abs is always stumping up his own money to help in the various projects he leads and although he has some little income of his own, his generosity outstrips his income, especially given he has a wife and young son to support.
Please help. Please get yourself involved with this amazing man and his work. If you cannot come on Saturday 22nd, then please speak to me, or any of the team that went when you are next at church to pledge your support.
Come on church. Please helps this gutsiest of heroes, Abs Dumbuya. Thank you and....
See you on Sunday!