When Renae Peters enrolled with Melaleuca (to the chagrin of her husband, Dan), neither dreamed Melaleuca would bring them financial freedom and the resources to employ and educate hundreds in struggling African countries.
The Peters had long been involved in charities, and tried to give back when they could. But when Renae enrolled with Melaleuca in May 1991, the Peters were facing bankruptcy and $60,000 in credit card debt. Less than two years after enrolling, the Peters had paid off all of their credit card debt and were well on their way to achieving financial freedom–thanks to their thriving Melaleuca business.
To date, the Peters have earned $4,660,668 since enrolling, and have advanced to Executive Director VII. Feeling extremely blessed, Dan and Renae began looking for a way to give back to society. To them, it wasn’t enough to enjoy the fruits of success if they couldn’t spread the fruit around and make a difference in the world.
“My life’s emphasis has changed,” explains Dan. “I’m no longer content just to be ‘successful’; I want to be ‘significant’ by impacting many people in a positive way.”
The Peters found their chance after Dan returned home from a trip to visit friends in Ghana. There, Dan saw an uneducated and starving people with no way to change their status. Unemployment rates were in the 80th percentile. Upon returning to the United States, Dan described what he had seen to his family and said, “We simply have to do something.”
At last, the Peters had found an outlet to serve and use their substantial Melaleuca income to make the world a better place. The Peters started small, creating jobs for people by providing an oven to bake and sell bread, a car to be used as a taxi and peanuts to be ground into nut paste. But the Peters felt they could do more.
Employing and Informing the African People
Around that time, the Ghanaian government began allowing privately owned and operated radio and TV stations. It seemed like a match made in heaven for Dan, who had been a broadcaster and owned several U.S. radio and television stations for many years. Armed with a lot of zeal—despite having very little knowledge of the local culture—Dan started Africa Public Radio and opened his first radio station in Accra, Ghana.
The Peters’ goal was twofold: create jobs and provide unbiased local and national news to Africans. The radio station was met with so much enthusiasm and success that the Peters have now started eight radio stations that are run and maintained by locals. Four of the stations are located in Ghana, three in Uganda and one in South Sudan. There are also two other radio stations that are in the planning stage, one located in Congo and the other in South Sudan.
Little did the Peters realize how their involvement would evolve over the years. When they started the radio station in Yei, South Sudan, they were shocked by how bad the conditions were. A 20-year-long war had just ended in Sudan and schools, food and jobs were practically nonexistent. The struggling country needed someone like the Peters to notice and make a difference. The radio station was a great start, but South Sudan needed so much more.
Bringing Hope to South Sudan
After seeing the condition of the South Sudanese people, the Peters decided to branch out and open their first school. Because of the long civil war, most children had never been to school. After
acquiring a 15-by-15 mud brick building, they announced the opening of the Royal School International kindergarten on the radio, and in just a few days, over 200 children showed up at the school. Though the school was without many resources that U.S. schools deem essential, such as books and chairs, the children still came by droves, excited to receive an education and a chance at a better future. At first, they were only equipped to take 100 children, but plans to expand the school soon began.
To fund the school, each child pays $50 a term. And for those who can’t afford it, the school offers scholarships thanks to donations and international aids.
“Because the families are so destitute, the school feeds the children both breakfast and lunch,” explains Dan. “For some kids that is the only food they get for the day.”
Now, just six years since the Peters started their first school in 2006, they have three schools in South Sudan that teach preschool, kindergarten and grades 1–3 to 960 children. Each year brings more growth and more progress. They’ve even had a community leader offer to donate 10 acres of land if they start a secondary school.
The Peters have definitely made a significant difference in the lives of many. They estimate that they have donated over $3 million to their humanitarian efforts in Africa. And because of their donations and love, 250 people are employed and the lives of thousands have a brighter future.
The Peters have fallen in love with the people and are making the country’s plight their mission. The radio stations and schools are just the beginning of what they hope to bring to South Sudan.
A challenge to Melaleuca Marketing Executives
“I’m so thankful to Melaleuca,” says Dan. “Melaleuca has given us the financial and time freedom necessary to help on this scale. We could never have done all this without the help of our Melaleuca business. I would like to challenge fellow Marketing Executives to look beyond their selves and find some way to serve. There are so many people we can help.”Follow the growth of the schools at www.royalschoolinternational.com. Find out about the Melaleuca Foundation at www.melaleuca.org