Mary Dinah Scholarship For Refugees: Minawao Refugee Camp, Cameroon

Um-Kalthum Abdularahman Faris recipient of Mary Dinah Foundation scholarship
Um-Kalthum Abdularahman Faris recipient of Mary Dinah Foundation scholarship

In the heart of the Far North Region of Cameroon, near the town of Mokolo, the Minawao Refugee Camp stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and an unwavering commitment to solidarity in times of adversity. This camp was born out of necessity, a response to the urgent need for a safe haven for those fleeing the relentless waves of violence and instability in neighboring countries, primarily Nigeria. It emerged from compassion, driven by the heartfelt desire to provide shelter and support refugees, ultimately evolving into a symbol of hope and strength.

The ongoing conflicts and displacement in the region continue to shape the camp’s destiny, causing fluctuations in its population and leading to challenges such as overcrowding and limited resources. This underscores the critical importance of international aid and support. Over the years, a multitude of humanitarian agencies have rallied together to deliver essential services to the refugees in Minawao. Beyond mere shelter, refugees have gained access to education, healthcare, and livelihood support. Educational opportunities empower young minds to pursue their dreams, while healthcare services ensure the well-being of camp inhabitants.

Founded in London, UK, in 2006, the Mary Dinah Foundation (MDF) has been a beacon of hope for the past 17 years, providing assistance to those in need. Their Zero Hunger Program has made remarkable strides in combating food security and malnutrition across West and Central Africa. The foundation’s multifaceted approach encompasses the distribution of food supplies, promotion of infant and young child feeding practices, hygiene and gender-based violence awareness, and facilitating access to basic healthcare services. This initiative has already provided 42 million meals and nutritional supplements, primarily targeting pregnant and lactating women and children under 2 years of age.

Amidst the ongoing efforts to support refugees in Minawao, a ray of hope has emerged in the form of the Mary Dinah Scholarship for Refugees. UM-KALTHUM ABDULARAHMAN FARIS, a remarkable young woman whose family fled their home in northeast Nigeria due to insurgency and sought refuge in Minawao, has been selected as the first recipient of this prestigious award. UM-KALTHUM’s journey is truly inspiring; she persevered and completed her secondary education within the camp, demonstrating remarkable resilience and unwavering commitment to her academic pursuits.

This fully funded scholarship covers tuition and living expenses for a three-year course at a selected university, made possible through the unwavering support of the Mary Dinah Foundation, in collaboration with UNHCR and PLAN International. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for refugees like UM-KALTHUM to pursue higher education and chart a path towards a brighter future.

Upon receiving the scholarship award, Ms. UM-KALTHUM ABDULARAHMAN FARIS expressed her excitement and shared her aspirations, saying, “I want to become a chartered accountant and use my career to encourage more girls like myself to embrace education.” Her determination to not only build a successful career but also inspire others within her community is a testament to the transformative power of education.

In this new chapter of her life, UM-KALTHUM’s journey is a symbol of hope, resilience, and the potential for positive change even in the most challenging circumstances. In her own words Mary Dinah, the Managing Director of the Zero Hunger Program, shared her vision, saying “Education is the cornerstone of empowerment. When we support individuals like UM-KALTHUM, we not only transform their lives but also create ripples of positive change in their communities. It is a privilege to be part of her journey towards a brighter future.” The Mary Dinah Scholarship for Refugees represents an opportunity for talented individuals like UM-KALTHUM to reach for the stars and make a difference in the world.