Ahmad, 7, wasn’t keeping up with the other children at school when we first met him. So much so, that he couldn't read any English.
Ahmad’s problem had nothing to do with his own abilities. In fact, he’s a bright young boy. Rather, it was due to not getting the parental support and encouragement at home that every child needs.
You see, both Ahmad’s parents have been incarcerated since he was just a baby. His elderly grandparents have done their best to look after - but to add to their burden, they’ve had to take care of Ahmad’s sister and two other cousins, too.
Ahmad comes from a family of four generations of incarcerated parents. It was clear that if he fell behind at school during his formative years, there was a much higher chance that Ahmad might follow his parents' path.
Thankfully, Ahmad’s future is now much brighter.
Ahmad recently received the 'Best in Progress' award at school and is soon moving up to Primary 2.
His progress was helped with the ongoing assistance of his volunteer Learning Friends, Ed and his wife Lai.
They’ve been with Ahmad as Learning Friends for the past two years, providing him with vital education and encouragement on a regular basis.
By providing one-to-one, home-based reading lessons, they gave Ahmad invaluable help, so that he didn’t fall behind during those vital early years.
Not only have they seen Ahmad’s reading and English improve, but his confidence has also grown.
Ahmad says he wants to be a Doctor when he grows up. Thanks to the help he received from his Learning Friends, he now has a better chance of realising his dream.
Of course, Ahmad has a long way to go, but by starting off at the same level as the other children in his year, he has a much better chance of making it.
We want to ensure that more children like Ahmad get a fairer start in life.
*Ahmad isn’t his real name, because protecting the privacy of the children and families we help is crucial. Everything else in his story is true.