In a dusty classroom in Uganda, I’m reliving my high school chemistry classes.

For a second, I’m brought back to all the times I couldn’t quite keep up. But that disappears as Alex, the teacher, warms to his subject.

Alex may be short, but his presence commands the whole room. His subject today? Chemical reactions. He’s clearly illustrating his point, as he makes acids and bases change color back and forth. It’s fascinating to watch!

Alex is brilliant. Listening to him teach, it’s clear how passionate he is about science.

But he almost didn’t get to tap into his brilliance and passion.

You see, Alex’s family was incredibly poor. He is the second born of 10 children. His father abandoned them, leaving his mom to scrape by on her own. With so many siblings and so little income, he didn’t have a chance.

He went to school occasionally. Often, he’d start out a semester with high hopes of succeeding. But inevitably, after a few weeks, he’d get sent home because he didn’t have a uniform. Or the right books. Or he was behind on his school fees. Everywhere he turned, there was a new obstacle to his education.

Soon, he’d lost all his ambition. He thought he would never amount to anything.

Until he was sponsored!

When he was told he’d been sponsored, Alex was so happy! He remembers discussing it with the Childcare Worldwide staff: “A sponsor?” he asked, “You mean, I’m going to be in school!?”

You see, Alex had really been hoping to go to a better school. Instead, his mom had sent him to an even worse school than he had been attending, hoping she’d be able to keep up with the lower school fees. Alex was devastated – that was when he lost hope for his future. But it was at this “worse” school that Alex first met the loving staff of Childcare Worldwide. Just one semester after starting at the new school, he was sponsored!

Sponsorship was a turning point for Alex. Thanks to his sponsors, Alex’s school fees were paid in full! Gone were the days of scrimping and saving, and begging the school for more time to pay the fees – they were already taken care of. Sponsorship even included his school uniforms! With the fees covered and the proper clothes, Alex could finally stay in school! And with the school doors finally open to him, he thrived.

But sponsorship was more than the start of his academic success; it was also the start of a vibrant faith!

Alex grew up in a Christian home, but never really believed for himself. Getting a sponsor, after he’d given up on himself and his education, was a miracle.

Reflecting on that amazing turn of events, Alex could no longer deny the hand of God at work in his life. Since that day, he’s been a staunch believer. He’s been through many tough times, and still faces big challenges. Through it all, he’s relied on God for strength, resting in the knowledge that “Someone has already set an agenda for my life.”

Anytime he may start to doubt, he can look back at his sponsorship story, and see all the ways God intervened in his life. Thanks to sponsorship, Alex was able to complete not just primary school, but also high school, and even college! Alex has a bachelor’s degree in Biology, but he’s proficient in chemistry too. He teaches high school science. Alex loves the days he gets to do practical demonstrations best – it’s so fun see his students faces light up with understanding. He also enjoys mentoring students. He tells them that if he can be successful, so can they, no matter their background.

In the future, Alex wants to be a professor. He dreams of being the most recognized science teacher in the country.

And after just one hour in his class, I’m convinced that he could be!