Scholarship Endowment Fund

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As the cost of secondary education gets higher and higher despite increasing poverty in Cameroon, many families are left with the tough decision that no parent should have to make – Can I afford to send my son to school or should he stay home so I can feed my family? So many students are unable to complete their secondary education because of financial hardship. SOBA America seeks to help alleviate some of this burden by offering scholarships to students in Sasse College.

Over the past few years, we have been able to give scholarships to a handful of students annually. Over 85% of the students who have received scholarships have gone on to University. Most have graduated and joined the work force, becoming productive members of society. Some have given back to the school by joining the faculty. Unfortunately, our limited resources do not allow us to wipe the tears of many other students who are forced to drop out of school because of financial need. Students, who drop out, some of who are orphan kids, have faced a downward spiral in their lives. Their families, who invested in them, continue to face significant economic hardship.  Our hearts are broken by this, and our alumni association in July 2015 made a commitment to be a blessing to every student in need who shows promise by creating this Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Dr. Bertrand Fote, SOBA America Vice-President and Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for Sasse Alumni Association, is our endowment fund champion. His testimony below underscores the lasting effect that Sasse Alumni scholarships can have on the lives of these young men.

Bertrand Fote receives Victor Anomah Ngu Award for Academic Excellence (May 1991)

Bertrand Fote receives Victor Anomah Ngu Award for Academic Excellence from Principal (Left) as his proud dad (Right) looks on (May 1991)

 “Some twenty four years ago when I was a student at Sasse College, something changed my life. I was an ‘A’ student but I really did not take school seriously, let alone think of my future. I took things for granted until the third term holiday (summer holiday) going to Form 5 (12th grade equivalent in the USA). My parents lost all their savings when their bank – Cameroon Bank- went out of business and was liquidated. There is no FDIC in Cameroon, so Cameroon Bank customers lost everything when the bank went under. For the first time, I felt a sense of responsibility. I wanted to do something to help my parents out. I knew about the Dr. Victor Anomah Ngu scholarship that had just been instituted the year before. I figured that if I worked hard and won that scholarship, which was for the Best All-Rounded Student, I would be able to help my parents out with my tuition. The prize was substantial and, even though my parents did not tell us much, I knew they’d appreciate any help and would be proud of me.  I had a goal, for the first time, and I took my school work seriously for once. I won the scholarship that following year!

I felt the biggest impact of what had happened when the principal asked me to have my father come from Yaoundé, several miles away, to accept the award with me. I had never experienced such reward for hard work. More importantly, I had never received such a gift at that point in my life before. I wanted to know who Dr. Victor Anomah Ngu, a Sasse College alumnus who sponsored the scholarship, was. I read about his life and accomplishments as a physician both in Cameroon and England.  I read about his accomplishments in medical research – I was intimidated.

My intimidation turned into motivation when I saw the look in my father’s eyes as we received the award on the steps of St. Joseph’s College, Sasse (See picture!). I could see a burden lifted. I saw tears in my   father’s eyes – he was proud of his boy! I will never forget the words he told me: “Son, if you work hard, you too can be like Professor Victor Anomah Ngu. You can touch lives like he has just touched ours.” That was a life changing moment. I suddenly felt a purpose – I was going to be a physician like Professor Victor Anomah Ngu.  One day, I was going to make a difference in young students’ lives, and touch them like he had touched us. That was my goal. That was my early motivation to pursue a career in medicine.  

Today, thanks to God, I have a successful career as an emergency physician. I have been involved in my community here in the US. I have given back to my community here in the US, including giving scholarships to students in my local community college. All of these are possible largely because of the impact that receiving the Victor Anomah Ngu Award had in my life. I still feel an obligation to fulfill my dream of making a meaningful impact on the lives of young students in St. Joseph’s College, Sasse. That act of kindness through Dr. Victor Anomah Ngu scholarship which I received over 25 years ago has not touched only my life. It also touched the lives of thousands of patients that I have cared for. Why? Without that moment, who knows where I would have ended up? I want to help other young students find their dream. That is our motivation for creating this Scholarship Endowment Fund. I know the prize money may not be great for each scholarship, but I believe they can still have a blessing that goes beyond the money. Due to my life story and experience, this is an idea I have championed since 2009. It has been a long journey but one worth taking. I know what it will mean to those students. We can achieve this and help many students. Together we can make a difference. This is my story.  This is my testimony.”
Our SOBA America Scholarship program will provide annual need based and merit based scholarships to over fifty students in different categories and based on specific criteria. We want to help the needy and also encourage hard work and excellence. In order to achieve this, we need to create a sustainable and viable structure that will ensure that the scholarships are available forever. Consequently, we are creating a Scholarship Endowment Fund. The endowment fund will ensure that these scholarships are always available to students. Our goal is to raise $250,000 to set up this fund. We will fund the annual scholarships with interest generated from the funds, without touching the capital. As a result of this, once the fund is fully funded, the scholarships will be self-funded.

We will also be able to use the funds to fund exchange study programs between St. Joseph’s College Sasse and US schools. Setting up an exchange program will give students in the US to experience the rich culture that Cameroon offers, and vice versa.

The goal of this campaign is to raise $250,000 to create and establish a Scholarship Endowment Fund which will be used to provide annual scholarships to over 50 students. With your gift of $100 or more, you will forever touch the lives of these students who will benefit tremendously from these scholarships. We have already received pledges from a few alumni to match all contributions up to $10,000 before December 31st, 2015.  That means that your tax-deductible gift of $100 or more can be doubled, and touch more lives, if you make your donation before December 31st, 2015. You can GIVE ONLINE NOW to help make this dream come true.

Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by the students of St. Joseph’s College, Sasse, Cameroon. Your kindness will be recognized at an annual Sasse Alumni Association Scholarship Awards Ceremony that shall be organized to present the scholarships. You can also honor your loved ones or special causes by sponsoring specific scholarships in your name, loved ones name or your designated cause with a gift of $2,500 or more as a member of our Ambassadors’ Club. As an Ambassador’s club member, your gift will be recognized as follows:

 Gold Ambassador ($1000-$2499): 

–  Recognition in SOBA Convention magazine
–  Plaque at convention
–  2 Reserved seats at convention Gala

Platinum Ambassador ($2500 – $4999):

–  Recognition in SOBA Convention magazine
–  Plaque at convention (Memorial day Weekend)
–  4 Reserved seats at convention Gala
–  Free half-page ad in SOBA Convention magazine

Diamond Ambassador ($5000 and above):

–  Recognition in SOBA Convention magazine
– Plaque at convention (Memorial Day Weekend)
– 4 Reserved seats at convention Gala
– Free Full page ad in convention magazine
– Free half-page ads in bi-annual SOBA newsletters/magazines

Email us at [email protected] for more information about how you can give to support this cause and about the Ambassador’s Club.

Be a blessing to a young child today by making your gift to support the SOBA America Scholarship Endowment Fund. You can GIVE ON LINE NOW by clicking the tab on the right. Your donation of $100 or more will help educate your child. It will sow a seed that shall touch many lives.