Hope Grows in Africa

Megan Barnes

South Africa. June and July 2006. Seaver College professor Robert Lloyd leads a class of 12 students in a summer program to examine crime, corruption, prostitution, HIV/AIDS, and other daunting challenges facing some of the world’s most impoverished citizens. Dr. Lloyd brought tremendous experience to the South African trip. He lived there for five years and had worked within several African nations over the past 18 years. Touring a well-run private Catholic school provided a stark contrast to the runaway abuses they saw in public AIDS clinics and prisons. That’s when a light went on. Megan Barnes and the other students saw education as the key and wanted to take some positive action that might have lasting impact. After meeting one Catholic school student in particular, a young girl who had lost her scholarship and would soon be heading back to the meanest of streets, Megan and her classmates met with the headmaster. They learned of the student’s dire financial condition and all pledged an equal amount to cover five years of the girl’s school tuition. Returning to California, Megan established a bank account in Malibu and has personally guaranteed all the pledges. She and her classmates remain committed to making the support of other South African students an ongoing Pepperdine project.