Josiane Asseme Beri, age 13, is an honor roll student with a report card any parent would be proud of. She dreams of becoming an accountant or businesswoman. But her father passed away, and her mother struggles to provide for her and her 5 siblings (4 sisters, 1 brother). Currently, her brother is the only other person in her family attending school. Without an Opportunity Africa scholarship, Josiane says she wouldn’t be able to stay in school for long. In her application, she explains, “Here in the village, young girls don’t attend school very often. I want to be an example to parents who don’t want to send their children to school.” She is entering “deuxieme technique”, or the equivalent of 10th grade at the Kentzou technical high school. Josiane’s Success Partner: Alla, New York.
Yvonne Nga Ndzie, age 16, has dreamed of becoming a teacher since she was a young girl. “I want to become an English teacher and help people to learn and love English, because it is the world’s first language.” Having just passed her Probatoire exam, she is closer than ever to achieving this dream. But school fees are a heavy burden for her family, who has 7 other children in school. Without an Opportunity Africa scholarship, Yvonne would be forced to work part-time and try her best to keep up with her classmates. She is entering “terminale”, or her last year of high school. After graduating, she intends to go to university and major in modern literature before finally becoming a teacher. Yvonne’s Success Partner: Sharon, Connecticut.
Oumarou Issa, age 16, is consistently a top performing student in his class every year. He has successfully completed 5 out of the 7 years of Cameroonian secondary school (without ever having had to repeat a class level!). His vice principal describes him as a reliable, hardworking student who stands out from his peers in his passion for learning. His drive and commitment to advancing his education are inspiring and striking–as the son of a farmer and a housewife, neither of his parents attended school. Oumarou hopes to become a civil administrator to help his fellow country people. He is entering “premiere”, or the equivalent of 11th grade. Oumarou’s Success Partner: Sharon, Connecticut.
Nadine Natodja Ndjol, age 16, is a solid academic performer. She is entering “troisieme”, or the equivalent of 9th grade. Nadine Michelle wants to succeed in her studies to become an accountant to help business people manage their finances — in addition to being able to better provide for her family and improve the lives of those in her village. Her mother is the sole provider for her and her 5 siblings — her father passed away. In the face of these circumstances, Nadine Michelle doesn’t believe she’ll be able to proceed very far in her studies without a scholarship. Nadine’s Success Partner: Jennifer, Washington, DC.
Riskard Sobilo, age 15, has a strong record of academic achievement. Last year, he was on the honor roll and ranked 3rd in his class. He dreams of going to university to become a lawyer. He wants to help the most poor, in addition to his family, village, and country. But Riskard has had to overcome extreme difficulties to come even this far — neither of his parents are still alive. And among his 6 other siblings, only one besides himself is in school. Without an Opportunity Africa scholarship, Riskard says he would have not other choice but to farm. Riskard is entering “quatrieme”, or the equivalent of 8th grade. Riskard’s Success Partners: Peter & Ginny, Minnesota.
Abdul Bagui Jamal, age 17, passed his Probatoire exam over the summer, meaning he has just one year left before graduating. Physics is his love, and aims to one day build engines and airplanes. To keep this dream alive, Abdul Bagui has had to pay his own school fees since the age of 15. He is Mbororo, an ethnic group in Cameroon that typically focuses more on has commerce than formal education. Besides the lack of family support to pursue an education, his parents just simply can’t afford to keep Abudul Bagui and his 7 brothers and 8 sisters (yes — that’s 16 children!) in school. He is attending the Bertoua Science High School for his final year. Abdul Bagui’s Success Partner: Melody, Japan.
Jordan Nguepi, age 13, has been an Opportunity Africa scholarship recipient for the past 4 years. He continues to stand out at the top of his class with strong academic performance at a bilingual school in Bertoua. “My dreams are to become a scientist to work in the protection of the environment,” Jordan writes (in English!). “I usually have from 13 to 15 average in science [very high marks], which is the proof that I have the aptitude to become a scientist. It’s also why I was chosen by the school council to be among the 13 students who write the science series.” He says his Opportunity Africa scholarship has provided significant financial relief to his grandmother and uncle, who have provided for him since his mother passed away when he was just 5 years old. Jordan is now entering Form IV, or the equivalent of 9th grade. Jordan’s Success Partner: Heather, Washington, DC.
Martine Tchicthite, age 27, is pursuing her Masters in Linguistics at the University of Maroua. Her dissertation topic—speech acts in African theatre—was singled out by one of the foremost Cameroonian linguistics scholars as one of the most promising in his class. If this wasn’t reason enough to grant Martine a scholarship, she is additionally an adamant advocate for girls’ education. She says, “Here in the Extreme North, it is difficult to find a young woman who has attended university. Most girls stop going to school due to lack of money, teenage pregnancies, forced marriages, etc. Societal norms dictate that women must get married, even if it is as the eighth wife of an old man. Continuing my studies challenges this stereotype, which, in my opinion, is unfortunate and must disappear. It will allow me not only to be a role model for my sisters, but it will also challenge societal norms and encourage other young women to pursue university studies.” Martine has already raised half the money for her tuition. Martine’s Success Partner: Mary, New Hampshire
Abdoul Yakoubou wanted to earn both his medical license as well as a PhD in medicine. He wanted to become a doctor to enable him to help his family and his village, as well as to conduct research to help end pandemics affecting his country, such as malaria, tuberculosis, meningitis, and HIV/AIDS. Abdoul ranked at the top of his class and was described by a former teacher as “…a dedicated and capable student who has impeccable attendance and eagerly participates in class activities.” Unfortunately, Abdoul passed away unexpectedly in September 2011. In his memory, Opportunity Africa is establishing the Abdoul Yakoubou Memorial Scholarship to fund a medical or public health student to carry forward Abdoul’s dream.
Clarisse graduated near the top of her class in high school and wanted nothing more than to become a nurse. Unfortunately, her widowed mother did not have the means to pay for nursing school. Opportunity Africa provided a full scholarship to Clarisse for nursing school, and assisted her in the job search process after graduating. She successfully landed in a position at the Ministry of Health as an HIV/AIDS educator in the rural areas of eastern Cameroon.
Vieux dreamed of getting his Master’s degree in environmental science so he could help engineer solutions to address malnutrition in Cameroon. But he was forced to drop out of college to provide for his family when his father passed away. With the help of Opportunity Africa, Vieux attended the University of Liege in Belgium from 2006 to 2007 and accomplished his dream of earning a Master’s degree. Vieux now serves as Opportunity Africa’s Field Coordinator in Bertoua. Read Vieux’s latest blog entry.