On Sunday, Beverly Berndt of Bowie will receive a $10,000 donation to further her education outreach efforts to Gambia. The sixth-grade teacher at New Hope Academy (NHA) in Landover Hills has coordinated scholarship programs for Gambian students since 1998.
The presentation of the Shining World Compassion Award and donation from Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association will take place Sunday morning at NHA. The donation will help fund scholarships to Gambian students, nursery/preschool, faculty salaries and summer service learning programs.
“I was overcome with emotion at the generosity of a woman/organization that I never met," Berndt said in a release from NHA. "This amount can go a long way toward furthering the education and service work in The Gambia.”
Bowie Patch recognized Berndt's work to help Gambian students in October and the story was picked up by The Huffington Post.
Patch previously reported that in Gambia, elementary school is free but middle and high school tuition is roughly $75 to $100 a year. While this seems like a minor fee for schooling, many families can’t afford it so Berndt started a program through NHA to provide scholarships to Gambian students.
The school said that more than 500 scholarships were made possible largely through the support of NHA families as well as Berndt’s church, Lovin’ Life Ministries, car washes, dinner fundraisers and the sale of flowers each Valentine’s Day.
Berndt will lead her fifth delegation of young Americans this summer in the service learning project in Gambia that she said “fosters cross-cultural and interfaith dialogue between students and has led to lasting relationships,” according to a release from NHA.
The group will reportedly help with cleaning streets, farming, character education programs, interfaith dialogue and volunteering in mother-child clinics.