This I Believe

Aminata - Syracuse, NY, New York
Entered on September 5, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that “Education” is my freedom, my only way out.

I come from a West African background where women are trapped between poverty and injustice. Because most of them are illiterate, their only traditional occupation is to stay home and take care of the children. However, I learned from my parents that being an African woman, knowledge was the only thing that they could not take away from me.

My parents, who both luckily went to school, strive to give me and my brothers the best future possible, so they made a lot of sacrifices for me to go to school and complete higher education like them. My mother had to move to another country in order to gain more money with her new job at the UN, and my dad stayed home with his adequate job. Changing one school to another and going from one culture to the other when I was moving with my mother was really instructive to me. I realized how lucky I was to in school and not in the hood. Now I was watching the world in a more open way thinking about going back in the future in my country in order to make it a better place to live for children who did not have the same opportunity as me.

I valued school and always strive to be among the brightest for future success. However, being among the best was not enough, because language was a big barrier for me. So with my parents support and understanding of the actual world, I decided to learn English in 10grade so I could be a perfect trilingual and succeed in the business career I wanted to pursuit. Education helped me to be here today at Syracuse University, and to be more aware in life.

As Henry Peter Brougham once said “Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” Education is my symbol of freedom because it gave me strengths and the right to speak my mind no matter whom or where I’m. I hope I can use my skills one day to free African women from these miserable conditions.