Susi Wyss has been a supporter of Opportunity Africa since 2008, when she heard about the organization from her former colleague Heather Buesseler, Opportunity Africa’s founder. Susi has lived and worked in Africa for many years as part of her career in international health, and currently writes African-set fiction. Her book The Civilized World, a novel set in Africa that follows the intersecting lives of five unforgettable women, was named a “Book to Watch for” by Oprah Magazine.
Susi became interested in Opportunity Africa’s work thanks to what she calls the African connection: “Africa is a part of the world that I am constantly fascinated by and drawn to,” says Susi. Her travels have brought her several times to Cameroon, which she believes is a country that receives less donor support than other, more well-known developing countries.
“I believe in the power of education,” says Susi, “especially education of girls.” She also says she enjoys supporting Opportunity Africa because it is a small, volunteer-run organization that allows for money to directly support students in Cameroon, rather than spending money to overhead costs in the United States.
Part of Susi’s inspiration for her writing and nonprofit engagement stems from a chance encounter with a young woman in the Central African Republic, who had lost her mother to AIDS. “Uneducated and with few prospects, she was at risk of repeating her mother’s fate,” says Susi. “I realized it was important for stories like hers to be told. At the same time, I couldn’t help think how many more opportunities she – and many girls like her – would have had if she’d been able to finish school.”
Finally, Susi is a fervent believer that Africans are able empower themselves. “I appreciate that the founders of Opportunity Africa don’t approach their work with the attitude that they have all the answers, or that they are ‘saviors,’ says Susi, “Africans are the best placed to address and solve their own problems, and Opportunity Africa acknowledges that by helping the next generation of Cameroonians pursue an education they could not otherwise afford.”
Opportunity Africa is proud to recognize Susi for her continued support – thank you!