​​​Yaya's story of the walker

You do not always see the benefit of your work, but sometimes you do get that joy!

​​In my experience, most times in life you let God lead and you follow trusting that you are doing

His will and other rare times it becomes so obvious that God used you for a specific purpose. 

I have to admit that my favorite times are when I see why God put me where he did.  This trip

had one of those moments when, out of the blue, the purpose for being there became crystal


A little boy named Yaya, who lives in Kimini, is one of the people my mind always goes to when

I think of the village.  He is cared for by his kindly grandfather and other extended family after

being abandoned by his mother.  Yaya was born with physical difficulties causing weakness

and great difficulty walking and using his arms.   The family cares for him and he is obviously

intelligent, but his future was very dim because of his difficulties.  We had spoken with the

family about putting him in school and they politely said they could not, primarily due to his

inability to function independently.

When I arrived in the village I made a time to go and visit Yaya with some gifts from my brother

and sister-in-law who are his sponsors in the Sheltering Wings child sponsorship program.  I

arrived with a 50 Kilo bag of rice for him and his family and some gifts just for him.  He was

carried over to where we were by an older boy in the family.   He was filthy dirty and I asked

about where he had been.  It turns out that the family had been in the fields working and they take him with them and set him on the edge of the field.  To do this does show how the family cares for him by choosing not to leave him alone all day with no care.

After seeing Yaya, I began to think about what could possibly help him support and steady himself enough to stand and walk. 

I had purchased some plastic pipes and fittings for another project and my mind went to imagining what I could make with them which may help.  I put together a design idea in my head and pulled out the hack saw and started in cutting and fitting pieces together.   The result was a light weight plastic walker which I prayed would help and thanked God for the inspiration.We went to visit Yaya with the walker in hand and demonstrated how to use it.  After a couple tries he steadied himself and got the hang of it and started actually walking with it!  We cheered him on and he beamed with the biggest smile I have ever seen on his face.  After watching him a few minutes we said goodbye and got in the truck to leave with tears of joy rolling down our cheeks over the miracle we had just witnessed.  We returned two days later to check in and watched as Yaya walked and maneuvered around quickly with the walker smiling the entire time.  It was mentioned that they may be able to enroll him in school and I pray that a whole new life may open up for him as he gets stronger and walks on his own.   I give thanks to God for using me and letting the purpose for this trip become clear. It is a joy I will always remember and I am looking forward to my return trip to visit him again! - Dawn Malcolm

When generosity, dedication and innovation work together in love, you can change the world. - Dawn Malcolm 

Giving A Future - Giving a Life

Yaya and the walker

Lighting the Path is dedicated to empowering marginalized people with education, training and supplies to help them help themselves.  We do this by innovative programs and training which meet the people where they are and builds them up to be successful, productive individuals.  It is out of the generosity of others, that this organization has become so successful and we would love for you to join us in these efforts!

Fundraising for building the school in Burkina Faso has passed the $20,000 mark which has allowed us to procure the land for the project and begin planning the first phase of the development of the school campus.  This first phase includes constructing a dormitory style building to give housing to homeless girls.  Please join us in changing lives!  We cannot do this without the support of people like you! 100% of your donation will go to projects for those in need.

​We are currently looking for a location to establish an office and programs in the St. Louis, MO region, please contact us if you can assist with this. 

Lighting the Path is a 501(c)3 Non profit  All donations are tax deductible


     Successful solutions to economic empowerment - the kind that generate an income, builds self-worth and hope and improves the quality of life - requires understanding and commitment to the work, new approaches to confront the causes and sustainable solutions that address the unique circumstances contributing to poverty in each community.

Allowing all those in a society to have an earning capacity is one of the keys to alleviating poverty. When a person can provide for his/her family, he/she has the power to improve the standard of living, the health, nutrition and possibility for education and it gives them more dignity and a better understanding of self-worth. Lighting the Path focuses on economic empowerment of women and those populations who are not given opportunities to earn a wage as the ones who can most benefit from education, skills and training that promote income earning, self-sufficiency and value in a society.

Initiatives include:
Providing skills training for the production of goods or products

Providing education in good small business practices and work ethics
Providing assistance the organization and formation of cooperative organizations
Providing entrepreneurship training with micro-finance seed money to start independent enterprises
Establishing small-scale manufacturing to scale product production

Promoting better education with providing textbooks and encouraging the education of girls

Building a girls school to allow the education of girls who wish to complete their schooling

     Lighting the Path partners with mission groups and social and community outreach programs to evaluate needs and resources in impoverished areas and develop and implement empowerment projects.  We are focusing on the specific needs of marginalized populations and those living in poverty.  We partner with programs to first assist and meet the needs of nutrition, health and education. Once these needs are addressed, we evaluate resources, skills and additional needs and give training and supplies to begin an enterprise while teaching small business practices to empower the people to help them improve their own lives.  We assist groups, individuals, and programs in starting their own enterprise and production of goods, marketable products and marketable skills. We focus on economic empowerment to provide families with food, medical care and educational needs to insure children have the means to attend school.  We prioritize education and job skill assistance to women, marginalized populations and the disabled. Maintaining respect for cultural and social practices, preserving dignity and building self reliance is a priority in our work.

What You Do - Empowering Lives

Lighting the Path

 Empowering People, Changing Lives