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rahmatRahmat came to our home in Aceh in Dec. 2005. He grew up in our care for six years before moving to Jakarta to pursue a higher education.

He was an orphan before the tsunami of 2004 and lived with his aunt and uncle whose lives were lost in the tragedy. The following is his account, written in Indonesian, and translated by our volunteer Dian Harumi.

 My name is Rahmat Mico. I was born on March 3, 1993 and am now 18 years old. When I was 20 months old, my father passed away due to complications with diabetes. My brother and I never felt the warmth of a father. It was our destiny to became orphans since we were infants. My mother did not have any education and worked as a coffee picker. Her wage was insufficient to fulfill our most basic needs. My paternal grandfather invited us to stay with his family in a small village about 15 km from the town of Takengon. My grandfather and his family also lived in poverty. When I was 7 years old, my grandfather took us to Banda Aceh to live with my aunt and uncle. This made my mother very sad. She cried everyday because she missed us so much, but she tried to be strong with the hope that we could continue our education. In 2004, our journey took an unexpected turn. The tsunami and earthquake in Aceh devastated our lives. After the tsunami, we left Banda Aceh because there was no shelter and we went back to Takengon. As destiny had written, at that time, the Noordeen Orphanage had just been established by Ms. Dian Alyan and Mr. Zaini Wahab. I placed all my hopes with Noordeen Orphanage. The pretty blue lake and the green hill at the back of Noordeen Orphanage were amazing to me. The silky sounds of the waves and graceful pine trees kept my spirits high. I told myself, I would fight for my future no matter what.

After high school, I took an exam and got a scholarship to a college in Jakarta. I felt upset and almost disoriented when I went there. The college had very strict rules and many procedures that were confusing. At the peak of my frustration, God opened a new way for me. When I was talking about my problem to my aunt, I suddenly received a call on my cell phone. It was Mr. Zaini Wahab from the orphanage. He said that I could go to Jakarta and pursue my undergraduate studies at any university I wanted. All of my tuition would be covered by GiveLight Foundation. My family shed tears of joy when they heard this news. I went to Jakarta by airplane for the first time in my life. This was a dream come true. My spirit was on fire, as strong as the spirits of all the GiveLight volunteers Bunda Dian sent from the US.

Today I'm studying science and technology with biology major and I won a scholarship from a Japanese Institution, Nagao NEF (Natural Environment Foundation), for 6 semesters. My GPA is 3.6 (the requirement for the scholarship was 2.75) and I'm determined to finish my education on time. My long-term goal is to become a scientist. I will give the best for my lovely Mom and also for Bunda Dian, the angel that God sent into my life. I thank Him for all my blessings and the opportunity to pursue my education.