From Refugee to Leader: Prosper’s Inspirational Journey
The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) offers refugee students the possibility to pursue an undergraduate degree in their country of asylum. It stands as a beacon of hope for individuals like Prosper Aobe, a 31-year-old hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in Burundi as a refugee in 2009, Prosper’s educational aspirations seemed destined to remain unfulfilled due to financial constraints.
“I always dreamed of pursuing my university education, but I had no idea how it would be possible.”
In 2014, after completing his secondary education, Prosper found himself at a crossroads. He vividly recalls, “I believe I am one of the children who studied in very difficult conditions in this world. To pay for my education, my parents had to make sacrifices, sometimes selling their personal and important family belongings to fund my studies. I always dreamed of pursuing my university education, but I had no idea how it would be possible.”
Prosper’s determination, however, refused to wane. He looked to higher education as the gateway to a brighter future, despite the challenges that lay ahead. It was in 2017 that a glimmer of hope emerged. After the announcement of the DAFI scholarship program in Burundi by RET, offering an opportunity for refugees and returnees to pursue their academic dreams. Hesitant at first, Prosper mustered the courage to apply, overcoming doubts that whispered of unattainable dreams. His perseverance paid off, and he was selected as a beneficiary of the DAFI program. The news of his acceptance brought indescribable joy, as it meant he would commence his university studies at the University of Lumière in Bujumbura.
Prosper’s journey was not without its share of doubters and naysayers. Despite the discouragement from those around him, his ambition propelled him forward. He secured the scholarship and enrolled in the Faculty of Communication Sciences. In 2020, he emerged as a graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree (Bac+3) in hand.
RET, recognizing the potential within DAFI program beneficiaries, goes beyond academic support. The organization invests in skill-building workshops to prepare these individuals for seamless integration into the socio-professional landscape. Prosper, like many DAFI graduates, completed this training program with flying colors, shaping him into the professional communicator and community leader he is today.
With the scholarship as a catalyst, Prosper’s life underwent a transformative shift. He stepped into the role of a journalist at Radio la Colombe, taking on additional responsibilities within his community. His dedication and leadership extended to roles such as youth president at the church and initiator and legal representative of the Association for the Well-Being of the Person (ABEP).
In 2021, Prosper’s journey reached new heights. He was recruited by Le Journal.Africa as the Chief Editor, later earning a promotion to the position of Regional Director of Publications. Today, he coordinates the activities of Le Journal.Africa in Africa, making a substantial impact on the media landscape.
Prosper’s story is a testament to the transformative power of education and the opportunities that programs like DAFI offer to refugees. He expresses his heartfelt gratitude to RET International, acknowledging the pivotal role the DAFI Program played in shaping him into the accomplished individual he is today. Prosper’s journey is a beacon of inspiration, proving that resilience and determination can overcome even the most daunting obstacles.