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Closing Ceremony - #ODSA2021

Open Dreams Pre-Scholars on the closing ceremony of the 2021 Summer Academy. They were christened the batch of #Resilience as the armed conflict in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon did not stop some of them from pursuing studies to keep their dreams alive.

Finally, the long awaited jam-packed 6 weeks of the Open Dreams Summer Academy (ODSA) 2021 came to an end. Over 25 pre-scholars--the brightest of the country--selected from a pull of over 200 top applicants had gone through intense training. I call the Open Dreams Core curriculum as a “Liberal Arts and Science” education. The first of its kind in the country. We did not limit it to formal college majors, or passions (like Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine and Health, Business, Accountancy, etc). Rather, we empowered them to be able to stand out in a world that is largely competitive. They learned about research, programming, leadership, community engagement, teamwork, decision making, public speaking, globalisation, culture, etc… In addition, they had zoom sessions directly with international Institutions and organizations. This gave them a foretaste of what awaited them after a successful college application. They maximized the opportunities by asking questions directly to highly esteemed leaders and getting strategic responses. Still, they were drilled and prepared for a competition, call it Hackathon, using the innovative “Design Thinking” Methodology. Apart from all the other additional fun activities, sports, hiking and official outings, they had preparations for international exams like the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Duolingo English Test (DET), the TOEFL/IELTS Test etc.

ODSA2021 sessions with Clement Ngosong (European Union Youth Sounding Board Envoy), Abiringwo Junior & Chancelyne Yein - all of them MasterCard Foundation Scholars

As we wait to see some our recent graduants in lower-sixth top their class with perfect scores, and achieve in leadership and community engagement, we are pleased to announce that in the 2021 Cameroon GCE results, four of them achieved five straight A grades (25/25 points), a sign that we selected some of the bests. We believe the empowerment they have now will stand them out as leaders in their respective fields.

The graduation ceremony was honoured by guests from the Tunisian Embassy in Cameroon, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education (MINJEC). From our judgement of their stay with us, we are sure they were enthused by the talent demonstrated by our scholars: dancing, speaking, project display, and their level of maturity. The MINJEC representative, Mr Elangwe Victor, mentioned his fascination seeing young minds blossoming in a safe space--the Open Dreams Center-Yaoundé. He could see the future of the emerged Cameroon in us. He made mentioned of being overwhelmed and full of kind words which were not all able to flow out given the limited time. He said it is almost not believable that Open Dreams is doing such a great job to empower high-achieving low-income students with big dreams. That he can only encourage us to keep doing best what we do. From us at Open Dreams, there’s much joy and gladness in our hearts to have hosted such esteemed personalities in our transformative setting. We hope to continue to equalize access to educational opportunities to all.

Mr. Mohammed Amin from the Tunisian embassy, during his speech, had encouraging words for the Open Dreams initiative while highlighting the key role the Government of Tunisian is doing to support Cameroonians in their scholarly endeavours in areas that are immediately useful to the development of the continent of Africa.

To our mentors, program facilitators, coordinator, director, partners, sponsors, founders and parents, we say thank you. Words cannot express all the joy we feel. We are blessed to have you invest your time, resources, and money into this ODSA’21. We can assure you that the education you helped made accessible to these students would ignite a transformation in them, to make them successful in whatever sector they’ll find themselves. We can bet that they would give back as much as they have received. We are certain that they will be Leaders and Ambassadors of Open Dreams. We are positive they will uphold the Open Dreams vaules of ethical leadership, scholarship, global citizenship, community engagement, inclusion etc.

Outdoor Poetry Session with Nnane Ntube - ODSA2021

This year’s ODSA has been one like no other. All our graduating pre-scholars said, in their own words, that “…this has been the best educational experience of my life. I wonder how different I am going to be from my friends who didn’t have the opportunity. I believe there’s more awaiting me hereafter. I am empowered across so many domains. I can’t wait to impact my community better….”

Picture 1: ODSA2021 Outing. Picture 2 & 3: Regular lessons at the summer academy with Matthew Lee & Karl Lemfon,

Asheri, one of the pre-scholars said; “I am totally a different person – my mindset has fully changed. Even if I end up not getting a scholarship, the lessons learnt here will continue to play a key role in my daily engagements, choices and actions to help me get the best out of any encounter or opportunity or challenge”

All graduants, scholars, and mentors were hesitant to believe the experiential learning has come to an end so soon. However, our centers are opened for further work and engagement as the mentorship journey never really ends. For aspirants, wishing to be part of us, we are open when you meet the eligibility criteria, to join our online mentorship.

Dr. Lem Ngongalah (right) of CORE Africa and who is based in the UK set the tone (#Research) for the 2021 Summer Academy. Emmanuel Ngolefac (left), Program Coordinator for the West Region delivered lessons on Community Engagement and Volunteerism at the both the Bamenda and Yaounde Open Dreams Centers for a week each

In the coming months, we hope to share the success stories of our scholars in academia and community Impact. This recent breed is now officially welcomed to the global family of Open Dreams Scholars; the batch of #Resilience.

By Teh Triumph Kia

Open Dreams Scholar

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