Jasmine’s Dream© – Literacy of Hope was created in memory of Anita’s late daughter, Jasmine Rose Sechesky. The purpose of this dedicated venture is a two-fold vision that provides publishing opportunities, either through reduced fees or full sponsorship, for motivated individuals who want to share their personal stories of courage, strength, and inspiration to give hope to others. In doing so, this opportunity will enable them to create residual streams of income through their own book sales.

The criteria selection is based on the following:

  • Candidates provide 2 personal references attesting to their financial situation.
  • Candidates provide a one-page (500 words) letter of intent, explaining their reason(s) to be considered for either reduced or full sponsorship opportunities.
  • Candidates agree to abide by the terms and conditions set out by LWL PUBLISHING HOUSE.

LWL PUBLISHING HOUSE will be creating specific books for this category that will be available to the general public. These books will be provided through our Fulfillment Service, enabling individuals and organizations to purchase them at wholesale cost and sell at market value.

Our Sponsored Authors

Brian vela Ntombela

South Afica

Published in 2016

Read Brian’s chapter from

#Hope – A New Way of Thinking

I was born into a poor family in the...

…rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Growing up, life was difficult that even the school was far from me. I remember while attending primary school, especially during winter time, I walked bare foot to school because I didn’t have any footwear. My mom was struggling and couldn’t afford to buy me a pair of shoes or to give me the transport fee, pocket money, or lunch.

It was painful to walk on the frost barefooted. That nearly discouraged me because when I looked at other school kids, they had everything. My parents passed away after I enrolled in Empangeni at Mningi High School.

As the Head of Communication and the original founder for efforts to improve the conditions of informal settlements, I began pursuing to further my education in Marketing at Witwatersrand TWR. Unfortunately, after only a year, I was no longer allowed to continue due to the lack of funds. However, poverty taught me to change my life.

Things were very difficult: no piece jobs, no money, or shelter until I moved to Orange Farm Driziek 5 informal settlement with a friend. Life was not easy for me because I was not working but I decided to join the community committee so that I would learn and participate in the community. Being jobless made me realize that I was ready to change our conditions living in settlement. I saw the poverty burden all around and I decided to take action to change the situation for myself and other living in the community.

While I was busy with the committee and the community, my dream continued to grow while volunteering helped me to be the part of change I believed in. The hope that I have made me the strong person I am today while many people lose hope and ending up giving up in life. They make wrong decisions like taking drugs and committing crimes. But the hope I had about life made me think differently and find the ways of changing my life.

I know that feeling of going to school without food in my stomach and I know how it feels to go to bed hungry, so that is why I decided to focus on those challenges and address them because I have seen many people dying because of hunger.

When I met a dear friend in 2014, that’s when I started feeling much hope in my life that things were really going to change. She mentored me with leadership skills and supported me to establish a community based organization Forum4change, of which I am the Founder and Head of Communications. The organization’s goal was to help reduce poverty and assist communities of informal settlements as well as those from the rural areas which are poverty stricken as well. I was also introduced to another mentor who trained me in South Africa and guided me in leadership, self-help skills, entrepreneurship skills, as well as advising and supporting what I was doing in leadership. He also enrolled me in an ECDL beginner’s computer literacy course and today I am in the International Computer Driver’s License (ICDL) advance course for five years.

The organization changes people’s lives and teaches them to learn to do things themselves. I saw the need of helping the community as the best thing I could do to show God how much I thank him.

There are lots of challenges affecting the communities, especially the informal settlements. They face fire devastation where many shacks can burn and people lose their lives. I hope that one day we will be able to help them to move out of the shacks (slums) and onto properties. During one particular challenging disaster, we came in as the leadership and helped those communities with food, clothing, etc.

I strongly support upgrading the informal settlements. For instance, my settlement, Driziek 5, has over 700 people, but only two toilets and only two water taps. This is a very difficult situation and is distressing for the 700 people sharing these essential facilities. In other settlements, where there isn’t even a single tap, water comes from pipes with no guarantee that water is clean. Some people get sick drinking the dirty water, and those communities don’t have even the mobile health clinic because it is very far from them.

I never thought what I was doing was going to completely change me but I’m glad that I can see the light and people are starting to admire me and the work against poverty that I’m voluntarily doing for them. I have been visiting different communities because I feel it is my duty to make sure that I face those challenges together with the communities so that we identify the adversities and address them where possible.

Even though technology is now trending, some communities are still lacking in the area of communication infrastructure. For instance, what’s the use of buying a cellphone if you can’t recharge your battery? And this is one of the main problems of a high rate of unemployment with or without education and skills; you have no telecommunication or Post office, so even if you apply for jobs, how will employers contact you? People have to be taught to work as a team and not wait for the government to do things for them.

But I believe that through community savings programs, we can actually change lives, although it is difficult, and the settlements should start saving money weekly. These programs will help the settlements to start implementing their own job creation projects, like “Stop Hunger” campaigns that will help the communities to get food gardens. The other painful thing I discovered about the settlements is that some people take medication or treatments without food in their stomachs, which can be dangerous.

Another campaign I would try to implement, even if I have to do this alone, would be for sanitary pads that will help girls to get pads for free because their parents can’t afford to buy for them.

While I was busy doing community visits, I was very encouraged by a gentleman I met. He is a South African manager for an international development organization, and is empowering the young people with skills, like Mobile Entrepreneurship Programs. I’m also one of the leaders who got trained by him, as well as many young people who have had the opportunity to be taught skills from their program. Today, we are still working together. I believe in change and empowering the young people with skills that will help them to start their own businesses. I have big hope that one day my country will change and people’s lives will be much better too. Those who are unemployed, they will be employable through the skills that they are given. I am committed to community building because I love it from the bottom of my heart. Each and every day, I pray to God to give me strength so that I am able to bring more hope to these communities and to those who want to give up in life.

I’m still young, energetic, and hope to create bright future. As well, I believe leaders should be positive, motivating, coaching, and empowering people. I want to be the leader that is inspirational; a change agent that is leading by example. I want to encourage each and every person that’s lost hope in family, education, and achieving their goals. I want to assure them that they have a chance to change their lives.

If I didn’t have hope, I wouldn’t be writing this chapter on a computer. So today it’s your call if you want to change your life. Get up, fold up your sleeves, and start taking a single step towards changing your life. Many successful people have come from a poor background, but they didn’t give up in life. That is why they now are successful.

I’m very happy to be given the opportunity to put my passion onto paper by our Publisher, Anita Sechesky, to write my story. I thank God for working through her. It is not straightforward to get an amazing opportunity like this to have the platform like this book. I feel honored and happy. It is my first time in my life to write in a book. I see God doing miracles in my life. I never thought a person like myself could be given this wonderful opportunity like this. Thank you very much, Anita.

To almighty God, I thank you for making sure you are giving me the good leaders in my life. I am now filled with faith and hope that you will make me to stronger than before, even though my life’s journey is still long.

Today I want to tell everyone who is reading this book that with God, everything is possible. Don’t undermine yourself. You can be whatever you want to be in life as long you have hope and take action. The problems that we have are the part of life, and those obstacles make us stronger day by day. Hope in God no matter how big your problems are, and give everything to Him. To those who are homeless, there is still hope that one day your lives will change. Please don’t give up. You don’t have to compare yourself with other people, just follow the goals that you want to achieve. There is still a new life of hope waiting for you.

Even though my family are confused and don’t actually appreciate what I’m doing, I believe one day they will understand. I know lots of people who have come from poverty, homelessness, rural areas, townships, and as well as informal settlements, are now living differently today. So this means all these people managed to change their lives because they had hope and didn’t give up in life. No matter how hard your life is, make sure you don’t give up – give yourself the hope. Look at me, I came from a poor family but I didn’t give up in life. And even though I have not achieved that much, my life has completely changed.

Starting from today, look at your life and start taking action to change it. Stop complaining because it won’t help you. We can come from different families and different nations with diverse problems, but we can all have hope that keeps us all alive. We always, as the human beings, think everything just happens by miracles, but the truth is hope is something that makes sure we don’t lose focus in life. Many people are orphans today, but that’s not stopping them from living their lives, even when life is hard and painful to them. That’s why it’s very important to dream big and have the hope in you as a human being. Do not just think praying alone will make your life change overnight, but you need to pray as well as take action, or do something to change your life and hope will make you strong, stay positive about what you doing, and it’s where you will see the hope that’s helped you to hold on and to not give up dreaming about your life.

Don’t look back when you see the light of success. Keep on moving and moving until you reach your destiny. Make sure once you successful, you help others and empower them with skills as well as leadership abilities. Mentor them, coach them, and make sure you teach them. By doing that, you will be creating more leaders, not just followers. That is the role the leader needs to do in the community. I know this journey of leadership is still long and I believe most of the young people will learn more and more from me because I have the hope that keep me alive.

Ana Marie Gonzales Agojo

Philippines

Published in 2017

Read Ana Marie’s chapter from

Soulful Stories of Love & Empowerment

There are secrets everyone keeps.

The darkest, however, could be found once light has thumped it rays on it. This is heart in control. I have seen myself crawl, heard a bird sing a song. I’ve sorted right from wrong. It’s been a year since I started a new life. After all this time, I think I’m worth a dime. I wished that everything in life was as easy as a magic trick. But I didn’t know that, like a magic trick, life could also be deceiving. I exhausted myself in order to achieve the wealth that no one could take away. I learned my lesson the hard way – that money is not the top problem for achieving your dreams.

I am writing this memoir as I have gathered all my strength to share a part of myself. A year ago, there was a very important lesson life taught me. This was not found in any book or in any imagined internet engine. It is a lesson that taught me how to discern, sacrifice, and save every penny that you have.

Let’s see it straight. Let me make it clear where I am coming from. I am a fruit of love of two wonderful people. I am the fi rst child and the eldest daughter of my Mama and Papa. I also have two beautiful sisters. I am also proud to say that I am a grandma’s girl. My grandmother used to help my parents take care of me when I was a little child. My mother worked in a city at that time, which was a three-hour bus ride from the province where we lived. For that reason, my mother chose to come home every weekend. It was hard for a mother like her to live far away from her daughter, but because she wanted to meet my needs, she endured working far away from us. My father was working in another country at that time and tried his luck to find a job with a good salary. Unfortunately, his employer didn’t pay enough salary. After a year, he came back home and found another job here.

I was two years old when my mother got pregnant with my younger sister. Then, after giving birth to my younger sister, the following year my youngest sister also was born. I was three years old then, when my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes. After that, my mother decided to resign from her work because my grandmother couldn’t take care of us anymore. With the small amount of money that my father earned as a construction worker, we tried to survive. We experienced eating one can of sardines between five members of the family. Sometimes, we ate rice and poured a cup of coffee because we don’t have anything else to eat. I remember my mother’s facial expression every time we are hungry and she had nothing to give to us. So, I am telling you this to “Be thankful if you can eat three times a day. And be thankful that your tummy is full!” I can also recall the time that I saw my mother hiding in a corner of our house and crying just because she noticed that we kept our eyes glancing to a kid who had delicious food and drinks in his hands as he passed in a front of our house. To those parents, I might say that a child must know the essence of kindness. Teach them how to give and share, even in a simple way, at their young age.

I was at the age of five when I start to go to school as a kindergarten pupil. I can’t forget my first day of school. I walked from our home with my Mama. I didn’t have a school bus service, so I walked. After the flag raising, Mama left me in our classroom and would pick me up after class because she needed to earn money for our daily needs. During recess time, I got confused because some pupils went out the door to bring in their food. However, my mother forgot to give me money for my snacks or she forgot to pack my snacks for me. My teacher asked me why I wasn’t eating, and then she gave me some soup. I can still recall those time that I only had one notebook, one pad of paper, one pencil, a small eraser, and crayons with eight colors in my bag. Those times, I always prayed that I would also own more notebooks, a pencil with a different length, a longer eraser like a size of hotdog, and crayons with many, many colors.

During my elementary days, I only had a few friends. Who would dare to make friends with a little girl who only went to school wearing slippers or flip-flops; who only had two blue skirts and two white tops for her school uniform? It was never a hindrance to me. Instead it made me stronger to face the criticism that I got. I knew how proud my parents were that I was learning on my own. I learned how to write without any help from my parents. I also remember those times that my classmates were playing in a playground and I chose to stay inside our classroom to read our books. I love reading and I’m sad about how some people do not read at all. I felt like a firefighter hosing down my classmates with ideas about reading. Often times, however, I would feel all dry because only a few would show enthusiasm about reading. During those childhood times, I didn’t have any beautiful toys. Sometimes, I was sewing just to earn a small amount.

I used to be a top achiever of our class. However, I’m sad to say that I couldn’t belong to the overall honor list due to a very unfair grading system and favouritism from teachers. Yes, you read it right. There was favouritism, but I wasn’t treated fairly by our teacher. I wasn’t from a rich family and I was not gorgeous. I couldn’t buy something to give to my teachers, but still I did my best. They didn’t always put me in the first section, but I still tried my best. I can still recall those times that I did DIY (Do It Yourself) on my projects just to save and lessen the expenses. I used to teach my younger sisters with their lessons at home. Often times, I also helped them with their school projects or shared my ideas and knowledge with them. There were so many school activities and contests that I couldn’t join because of financial issues. And because of this, I couldn’t get extra points on my grades. What I could do was to study well, cooperate during recitation, and get a high score during exams. I was a grade IV when I started to write a journal. I also joined the school publication when I was a grade V student. I made an extra effort and shared my opinions on news writings. I also joined a competition and for a position in editorial writing. Because of the effort that I did, I graduated with an honor when I was grade VI. I received an award of third honorable mention. My father started working abroad at that time and I knew how he was so proud of me.

High school life became more challenging to me. I went to a public school and it was good to become a part of the first five section. Most of my classmates were brainy. It was a sacrifice to wake up early in the morning and wait beside the street for a Jeepney to travel to school in before or exactly at 5:00 am. I cried a bucket of tears as I stepped into high school. Despite all this, I became strong and showed them that I could do it. I always went to school, even with a meagre pocket. Some laughed at me because I didn’t change my bag and I always wore the same pair of shoes whatever the weather – rain or shine. Yes, during the four years in high school, I only had one pair of shoes and one bag. And for those four years, I walked from school to the Jeepney terminal, going home after my classes. I chose that way to save and sustain the other matters that I needed for my studies, such as projects and other school supplies. All my sacrifices paid off as I still belong to the top achievers of our class.

When I was a first-year college student, I went to one of the prestigious universities in our province, where I took Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. But because of the high tuition fee and expenses, I knew my parents might be stressed and it was very hard for me to study far away from home. I decided to transfer to the nearest college. Since my course was not available in our college at that time, I decided to shift to a related course: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. It was not easy for me to take that course, but I was always positive and thought “I CAN.” I didn’t have my own desktop computer or laptop to use in creating computer programs. Just analyzing each task that they gave me and with the help of paper and pen doing pseudo code, using flow charts and algorithm, and spending time reading programming books, I passed my course. At times, they found me at the school Computer laboratory creating programs there. I graduated and pass all my subjects.

After one year, I was hired in one of the leading companies here. And now, I’m doing a home-based job or online marketing, and currently I’m with a circle of wonderful people who have a same advocacy as mine. I always thank God, my parents, my mentors, and all the people behind my success. Always think positive and you can achieve what your heart desires.

ne will make your life change overnight, but you need to pray as well as take action, or do something to change your life and hope will make you strong, stay positive about what you doing, and it’s where you will see the hope that’s helped you to hold on and to not give up dreaming about your life.

Don’t look back when you see the light of success. Keep on moving and moving until you reach your destiny. Make sure once you successful, you help others and empower them with skills as well as leadership abilities. Mentor them, coach them, and make sure you teach them. By doing that, you will be creating more leaders, not just followers. That is the role the leader needs to do in the community. I know this journey of leadership is still long and I believe most of the young people will learn more and more from me because I have the hope that keep me alive.