Grace Sop is an A2Empowerment Alumni from the Adamoua Region of Cameroon who was mentored by RPCVs Claire Kofler, Allison Sanders, Emma Jehle and Danielle Nicolai Freymeyer. It is a challenge for us to stay connected with alumni, and we have plans to address this issue. This is why we were absolutely thrilled when Grace contacted us through Instagram last year, and she agreed to be interviewed for our blog! Please read her inspiring interview below.
A2E: When did you receive the scholarship?
GS: I received my scholarships from A2Empowerment during the school years 2009-2010 (in 6th class) and 2011-2012 (in 4th year class) thanks to my father, who reached out for help because of the difficulties he had affording to send my brothers and me at school.
A2E: What are your fondest memories from your time in the program?
GS: I have many memories that have been really important to me.
I will never forget those few hours we shared every week with Allison and Claire. I remember how eager I was to go to the educational sessions at Allison’s home, because there they taught us many things, and I especially loved it when Allison baked us cupcakes (I’m still dreaming about Allison‘s cupcakes! In my dreams I have walked through the rain and hot sun to have them…it’s funny, but I did it (shame !!)!! Cake + teaching = total happiness
There is another memory that always puts a smile on my face from when I got into the terminal class. We had an evaluation which I had previously performed poorly on, and before this next evaluation I promised my teacher I would achieve a 17/20. If I performed poorly, I would not only have a bad grade but I’d also disappoint my teacher. A few days after the teacher graded the evaluation, I found out, with happiness, that I had the top grade of 16.5 /20! My teacher congratulated me, even though I did not reach the 17!! From that moment, every time I worried about an upcoming evaluation, my comrades teased me because every time my grade was above average. I was so scared to fail!!!!
A2E: What did you receive from A2Empowerment?
GS: The A2Empowerment Scholarship offered me books (English, French, Mathematics, SVT); literary works on the program; notebooks; pens, in short any supplies including my uniform. This scholarship also paid for registration and exam fees. We were also entitled to educational events, and small beauty accessories that Anne sent us. I could not say exactly what I received because it was a big gift bag full of delights.
A2E: How did it affect your life at the time?
GS: This scholarship revived my desire to succeed because I did not attend for myself alone, but for many people who wanted me to succeed in my studies. I got up every morning saying that everything depended solely on me, my desire to get to the top of the hills or stay in the valley.
A2E: What are you doing now and where do you want to go in the future?
GS: Now I am a student at the University of Ngaoundere where I am studying for a license in animal biology. After obtaining my license, I would like to enter a medical training school to realize my dream of beinging a pediatrician.
A2E: Is there anything you would like to say to A2Empowerment donors?
GS: To all those people who believe in the girl, who think that an educated girl is a plus for the welfare of society and who supports development and development of the girl, I would like to tell them deeply thank you because through your various gifts, you revive the hope and the joy of many girls. For me, this scholarship has been of immeasurable importance because the simple fact of knowing that there are people who want me to succeed in my studies motivated to work harder. Please continue to perfume our lives with hope, love, and tenderness. Thank you so much!!!!!!
A2E: Is there anything you want to say to current students?
GS: I would like to tell the current students to believe in themselves and in their dreams, and to fight to realize their dreams. We could give you the advice and all the gold of the world but if you do not trust in yourself, if you do not believe in your abilities, this will be of no use. This scholarship allows you to take a step towards your various dreams so make good use of it and remember that hundreds of people believe in you and in your abilities. Give the best of yourself as a mountaineer, push your limits and have faith.
A2E: Is there anything you would like to say to the Peace Corps Volunteers who are currently working with A2Empowerment?
GS: I wish to say thank you to Peace Corps Volunteers who worked with us and new volunteers, because it is they who feed us with courage and advice when we need it. I have a lot of admiration for them because they leave their culture and families to integrate with love for our culture in order to see the girl educated and fulfilled. I am thankful to you, you are unique!!
A2E: Is there anything else you would like to mention?
GS: In areas where girls’ education is not valued, we should meet with traditional chiefs of villages and parents to help them understand that an educated girl is a benefit to the family and community.
We congratulate Grace, and we are so proud of her for all she has accomplished!
*translated via Google Translate and edited for clarity by Anne Cheung