This is a guest post by Vanessa Lucius, American Refugee Committee

For some, education is their only hope towards a better future. Here’s an in
spiring story about Abdalla, an office cleaner at ARC Khartoum, who’s using his passion, motivation and access to free learning via the American Refugee Committee’s “ARC Learning Education and Development System (ARC LEADS) to transform his life and the lives of others for the better. This story was originally shared by American Refugee Committee.

We are cultivating a culture of learning, collaboration and innovation through our ARC LEADS program. A recent story from the field highlights how invaluable these resources are for staff:

Abdalla Hassan Eltahir had a dream ever since he was young—he wanted to help others as a “big manager.” Unfortunately, his path to pursuing this dream was interrupted when war took his father’s life and forced his family from their farm in Darfur.

They lost everything, and Abdalla thought his dream of going to university would never be fulfilled. He felt trapped—if he went to university he would need to quit his job because all classes start in the morning; his job, however, was necessary to support his younger sisters and parents.

Abdalla Hassan Eltahir has a story like so many others, but what sets him apart is his connection to the American Refugee Committee. He proudly serves as the Office Cleaner for ARC Khartoum. Our HR Coordinator, Arafa, has worked closely with Abdalla to help his dream become a reality. He has overcome a number of obstacles in order to “enroll in the University of ARC” (as he affectionately calls ARC LEADS).

He lacked access to a computer, as well as basic computer skills; Arafa tutored him on her own computer after hours. He had never had an email address; Julie Toner, our Technology Support Specialist, created an ARC one for him. He had no money to pay school fees; all ARC LEADS classes are free, including the eCornell management certificate he has his heart set on.

Abdalla Hassan Eltahir is one of many at ARC who have the drive, determination, and a desire to develop personally and professionally through ARC LEADS. To Abdalla, learning is about so much more than skills or resume bullet-points. When asked if he would be willing to share his story he enthusiastically responded by saying, “Learning brings knowledge, skills, work, money, joy, love and peace.” His confidence and compassion challenge me to consider learning an inspiring pursuit for the common good, and not just personal achievement.

Do you have a story that will inspire others? Share it with the community by emailing it to Judith Mumford (


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