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Opening up a world of education

Children love to learn. If they are denied access to knowledge, we also deny them the opportunity to change their lives for the better.

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EAA Youth Series: Ousman Camara

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My name is Ousman Camara, I am from the Gambia, the smiling coast of West Africa. After graduating from The Institute of Religious Studies for Boys, run by the Ministry of Education for the State of Qatar, I found myself in a quandary.

I had written and oral Arabic skills, but I needed to improve my English skills to go to college. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to attend the Academic Bridge Program (ABP) at Qatar Foundation thanks to a full scholarship from the office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser. My hard work and dedication during my education journey inspired many to support me along the way. I eventually applied and was accepted to Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.

As my own academic dreams came to fruition, my thoughts always returned to the Quran Boarding School in my country that started it all. I made plans to help renovate the school once I graduated; however, at the end of 2018, I heard that the school would not last through the rainy season. Realizing that the time to help was now, I started contacting friends at GU-Q, in Doha, and beyond. My plan was to raise 100,000 Qatari Riyals to build a brand new school.

As a founder of the Educate A Generation foundation, I raised 60,000 Qatari Riyals through donations from my Qatari friends, more than enough to start construction. In May of 2019, I flew back to The Gambia to help build the foundation. Upon completion, the school will have electricity, room for 200 students, a septic tank for the bathrooms and a water pump for ablution outside. The students would also have access to the 3800 books my foundation donated to the University of the Gambia.

Most of the students who attend the school are either orphans or are from under-privileged families; most can’t afford better education and this school is the only hope they have. The old school was built with mud blocks, but this time we are using cement blocks, which will last much longer. With construction almost finished, the students are filled with hope. They are all so thankful to see a graduate from their school return to the community to help improve their educational environment.

I recently graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and I hope to take my current role as an education Youth Advocate with the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) to the next level. I believe that we live in an imperfect world, but we all have the power within us to make that world a little bit better, whether we do this by fighting for social justice, improving community relations or working to protect the environment.

I strongly believe that no revolution can be victorious without the effective involvement and mobilisation of the youth. As an EAA Youth Advocate, I have learned how to be a leader and to value education, while promoting the Qatar Nation Vision 2030. I believe education is instrumental to our personal and communal development, making it critical in achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, education remains the single greatest social leveller for everyone around the world and as the current COVID-19 pandemic shows the disruptions to education could prove fatal. As a youth advocate, I express my solidary with students and youth around the world impacted by the COVID-19 and encourage educational professionals and stakeholders to build mechanisms to safeguard against such disruptions.

Impact

"Humanity will not overcome the immense challenges we face unless we ensure that children get the quality education that equips them to play their part in the modern world." -- HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

Surpassing

12.8 million

enrolment commitments for OOSC

9,099

Scholarships

89.5%

retention rate

395,558

Teachers trained

45,000

schools and classrooms