Re-Engineering Attitudes: How One Woman Is Beating The Odds To Tackle Prejudice In Togo

Meet Winner.

Winner always loved engines. Something about the way they work fascinated her. She dreamed of one-day designing engines that could make planes fly better, faster, safer.  

Winner works underneath a car with her toolbox beside her.

But her dream seemed impossible to attain when she was a child. 

Winner and her brother were often expelled from school for non-payment of school fees, returning home to find that there was not enough food for the family to eat.  

Her father, Kablye, had lost his job as an electrician, and her mother, Claire, could hardly cover the family’s needs with her salary as a nurse. 

Seeing the family’s difficulties, a neighbour told Winner’s parents about the newly established Compassion project in their community. The project welcomed Winner at the age of eight, paying her school fees and buying her essential school items.  

“Once I was enrolled by the project, my brother and I were not turned away from school anymore,” says Winner. “The project bought learning books for me, and my brother could also use them. It was a great relief.” 

The project came alongside Winner, not only supporting her school needs but also providing food to the family when needed, educating her on how to pursue a promising career.

Unsure of the path that would lead to her dream of becoming an aeronautical engineer, Winner asked staff at her Compassion project for help. With their guidance, she began studying mechanical engineering as a first step towards realising her dream. 

Winner had a lot to prove. In a community where only about half the women above the age of 15 can read or write, it’s incredibly rare for a young woman to be interested in engineering.

“Some teachers even told me during the first days in class that I should find another course to follow. They said I could never make it, that mechanical engineering was not for women.” 

Winner studied hard. By the end of her first quarter exams, she ranked 12 in a class of 45 men and by the third quarter, she was ranked first in her class. At the national exam to enter university, she attained the second-highest mark for students in mechanical engineering in the country.  

Her Compassion project provided a laptop, books and funds for the daily transport to the university. 

“We couldn’t afford the cost of my daughter’s studies at the university,” says Kablye, Winner’s father. “These studies come at a high cost. I thank the project who supported her financially.” 

Winner stands with her arm on her father’s shoulder

After completing her high school studies in mechanical engineering, Winner is writing her thesis for her university degree. She still has one more year before graduating from the Compassion programme. Meanwhile, she managed to get a scholarship for additional training, combining the study of solar energy and electricity. 

Right now, Winner is designing a motorcycle powered by solar energy for people with disabilities and will introduce it during the presentation of her thesis. 

Winner holds a solar panel

“I want to thank the local church for partnering with Compassion to support us. My gratitude overflows for all the staff and volunteers at the project. I also thank my sponsor, who has encouraged me,” she adds.  

“It feels good to know that someone somewhere loves you, cares for you, prays for you, and invests financially in you. I never abandoned my studies because I knew I was precious to my sponsor, and he was investing in me.” 

Winner intends to establish a company to help people reduce their electricity bills with solar energy while also looking to be admitted to an international university where she can study aeronautical engineering.  

In May 2019, Winner represented Compassion Togo at the Regional Youth Leaders’ Summit in Kenya, and in 2020 she was one of the moderators at the National Youth Leaders’ Summit. She is also a Sunday school teacher at the Assemblies of God Church and a leader in her community, encouraging young girls who would like to study engineering. 

Sadly, many children and young people in poverty are often robbed of a brighter future due to circumstances beyond their control. Our ministry supports local church partners to come alongside incredible young people, offer them opportunities to overcome poverty, use their God-given talents and achieve their ambitions. 

If you want to help a child like Winner to become all that God made them to be, please visit our sponsorship page here.

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