Fatumata Kamara, a graduate of LV’s Basic Literacy program and a member of our Board, left today for Lesotho in southern Africa to serve as an Adolescent Health Advocate in the Peace Corps.
My name is Fatumata Kamara. I’m from Liberia in West Africa and the sixth of thirteen siblings. When I was six years old, my family fled to Guinea. There I used to teach the alphabet to children in my neighborhood who couldn’t afford to go to school. You have to stay focused for your dreams to come true. My hope was to trust myself and believe in God that I am going to be who I want to be.
Since I was a little girl, my first hope was to come to America and improve my education. In 2014 when I was 20 years of age, I had the chance to migrate to the USA and live with my Aunt’s family. Here I was allowed to further my education and become someone I have always dreamt of. I want to be an inspiration for others because I was inspired by my little cousins’ dedication to their education in Guinea. They used to walk to school very early in the morning so I went early to my new high school, too. The security guard at New Haven Adult Education let me in every day at 7:00AM for my 9:00AM classes. I could not wait for class to start!
I didn’t know how to read, write or speak English well, but when I found Literacy Volunteers my life completely changed. Reading started getting better every single day. I received my high school diploma in 2018. Then I got a scholarship and enrolled at Gateway Community College, while working at Dunkin’ Donuts and Amazon. I focus on my education to set a big example for my nieces and nephews. If I can do it, you can do it, too. Always stay true to yourself and it’s always OK to talk with someone in your family about anything hard you’re going through.
Last month I received my Associate degree in Criminology. This is by far one of the most significant achievements of my life because I am the first female in my family ever to earn a college degree.
More dreams are coming true! Last summer I became a U.S. citizen, and this spring I was accepted by Penn State and the Peace Corps. In September I will leave for Lesotho in southern Africa to serve as an HIV/AIDS and Adolescent Health Advocate for two years. Outside of the US our parents are not comfortable talking to us about hygiene and self-maintenance. Joining the Peace Corps family will allow me to teach kids it’s so important to take care of yourself.
I’m excited to meet people of different backgrounds, speak their languages and give them love as much as I can. Seeing other people happy has been a significant part of my life. In Africa there are many smart kids with big dreams but no opportunity. I want to share the love and create smiles on the faces of children I believe have struggles similar to mine. I want to help change the lives of these innocent children.
Coming to America has allowed me to create a new me and build a better future. I am a proud example of the American dream. To have patience, belief, hope and trust are really hard for some people but as for me, I think I have these things in me. I never give up for anything and I will never give up. No matter what you are going through, keep chasing your dreams.
"This is by far one of the most significant achievements of my life because I am the first female in my family ever to earn a college degree."