Fanta - a woman who has never forgotten her homeland

A few weeks ago, I met Fanta Yanna, an impressive, dedicated young African woman from Dedougou (Burkina Faso) who has been living in Nuremberg since the end of 2003. Married for 11 years and now a mother of three, she came to Germany as a student thanks to a guarantee to study electrical engineering and information technology at the Technical University of Nuremberg Georg Simon Ohm. Since 2010, she has been working for a large international company, first as a lead engineer for industrial projects and for the last three years as a project manager. I eagerly follow her story:

Nine siblings and no father

Born the ninth child in a large family, I learned early on to share and help, even involuntarily, until this became second nature to me. When I was three years old, my father died. Looking back on my childhood, I would say it was hard, humble, but full of love. The love of my mother and the love of my siblings shaped and filled my life.

An illiterate woman fights for education

Being enrolled in school was not a given, especially for financial reasons. But for my mother, an illiterate woman, education was compulsory for everyone, especially for us girls. At that time, she made many enemies in our Muslim-majority country to keep us out of school.

Secretly, she also encouraged other women to send their children to school against the will of their husbands. She was more than convinced: this is the only way to become independent and achieve a better future. Although illiterate, it was a matter of course for her to check our homework at home, just to give us children the impression that she was interested in our achievements. Unfortunately, this lasted only until the end of first grade. Then we noticed that our mother sometimes held the notebooks upside down and couldn't read at all.

But that didn't matter, because through her commitment she gave us siblings and many neighborhood children educational prospects. I didn't have to look far for my role model, because she still fascinates me today when I think of that time.

Giving young people a chance

I didn't realize that I wanted to be as committed to education as she was until I was a student in 2006, after my first visit to my home country. During my stay, I visited a former host family with whom I had lived for a short time. I encountered a grieving family whose father had passed away a year ago. Because of the lack of school fees, the children had been taken out of school and had to work early.

I did not have the finances to support this family at first, but I was aware: the situation will not get better if the children do not go back to school. That's what I had always heard from my mother. I decided to send at least the two younger siblings back to school and the next day I spoke to the principal. I promised him that I would pay the school fees in two months, without knowing how.

Back in Germany, I got a student job at a fitness center to make good on that promise. At the end of the month, I was able to pay the school fees and buy missing school supplies. Imagine how happy I was when I heard about the children's very good grades at the end of the school year.

I want my home to change

Since then, I have been committed to education and over time, without outside support, I have initiated many small projects in my home village to improve the level of education of children and to give children from families without prospects access to education.

In 2017, together with friends, I founded the association "Creuset d'Eveil Children's House" in Burkina Faso, which cares for education and social development of children, especially in rural areas. The association is involved in the form of homework supervision and computer courses in villages and offers recreational activities such as music and instrument courses. This year we opened a children's center for small and preschool children in Dedougou.