Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York page is notable for sharing some of the most heartwarming stories on struggles, survival, and day-to-day lives of regular people. Documenting these real-life experiences with pictures incurs emotions, and can oftentimes be inspiring for many readers.
This Gambian lady narrated her story on the page, and it’s really that spark of hope and faith in humanity that we all need.
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“I thought studying in the US would be easy. I’d attended a UN conference in high school, so I already had a visa. I begged my father to let me go. He finally agreed and took out a loan to buy me a plane ticket. I arrived with $150 in my pocket, and stayed with a Gambian family in Maryland. For two months I visited schools, asking for financial aid—but nothing was available for people like me. I began to accept the reality that I would need to go back home. There was one last school called Montgomery College. It was a five-minute bus ride from where I was staying. And when I visited the campus, I learned about a scholarship for international students. But the deadline was approaching, and I would need to submit my application that day. I searched everywhere for a computer. I walked through the hallways looking for any door that was open. And that’s how I discovered Professor Rudin. She was sitting at her desk. She had currency from all over the world hanging on her wall. I noticed a bill from Gambia, and that’s how we started talking. I stayed for two hours. I told her my entire story, and by the end we were crying and hugging each other. Kelly researched the scholarship and learned it wouldn’t work out. But that night she spoke to her husband Tom, and they decided to pay for my school fees. They gave me money for food and clothes. Kelly drove me to Best Buy and got me a phone, and then added me to their family plan. I’m still on that plan today. For two years I lived with the Rudins. Every morning Kelly made me breakfast, and we drove to school together. She and Tom became like my parents. And her children became like my siblings. They hung pictures of me around the house. They helped with my entire education. When I graduated from Georgetown, they even paid for my father to attend the ceremony. He was so overwhelmed when he arrived. He gave Tom the biggest hug. It was such an emotional moment for me. I thought about how it all started—begging my dad to let me come to America. And here I was, four years later, graduating from Georgetown. My father was with me. And he was thanking the two human beings who took me in and called me their daughter.”
She described her struggles as a young international student – having to live with another Gambian family, as it began to dawn on her that her whole study process may be in jeopardy due to lack of funds.
“For two months I visited schools, asking for financial aid—but nothing was available for people like me”, she narrated.
Her luck changed when in a last-ditch attempt to secure funding, she took a leap of faith and approached Prof. Kelly Rudin in Montgomery College, Maryland.
Describing their meeting, she said – “Prof. Rudin had currency from all over the world hanging on her wall. I noticed a bill from The Gambia, and that’s how we started talking. I told her my entire story, and by the end, we were crying and hugging each other.”
Prof. Rudin decided to take up the student’s tuition, feeding and accommodation. She basically became a new member of the family.
“When I graduated from Georgetown, they even paid for my father to attend the ceremony. He was so overwhelmed when he arrived. He gave Tom the biggest hug. It was such an emotional moment for me.”
This story is an inspiring one that warms the heart and makes you believe that kind people are still out there!