The Africa Youth Education Awards (AYE AWARDS) took place in Hamburg again on the 4th of November 2023. The event is a flagship program from TopAfric e.V. This is the eleventh event since its inception and was excellently moderated by Anita Acheampong and Shirley Hamlet Meschke. A community without intellectuals and a community with indifferent intellectuals is a community that will deteriorate.
When the intellectuals and the privileged in the community/society looks back and lift others, the whole community benefits and that is the reason TopAfric is keen on promoting education, skill acquisition and access to jobs for Africans in Germany.
This years’ event saw dignitaries, professionals, graduates, students, guardians, and community leaders fill the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce to its capacity. It was an evening of deep reflection and inspiration through speeches, podium discussions and Question and answer sessions where the audience had the opportunity to ask the speakers questions relating to their speeches. Mrs. Michaela Beck, a representative of the Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg, delivered an opening speech which set the tone for the event.
The special guest of honour was Prof. Dr. Marylyn Addo from “Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf” (UKE). She spoke passionately about the importance of education, the need for skill acquisition and the need for Africans in Germany to aspire for higher career growth and mentorship of the youth in the African community who often get demotivated due to lack of mentors.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Congo, H.E. Edith Antoinette Itoua, gave a speech on “Education is the Key to Success” and emphasized the vital role of education in achieving success especially for Africans in the diaspora especially in Germany.
The Honorary Consul of Cameroon Prof. Dr. Stefan Liebing spoke about the need for Germany to move away from PowerPoint presentations and the usual talk of the potentials of Africa in German board rooms and rather build partnership with African firms and create a win-win value for Germany and Africa as Africans a now tired and do not take German Powerpoint business Presenters seriously.
There were 3 community awards given to individuals/organisations that have contributed to the African community in strategic ways.
- AKONDA Eine-Welt-Cafe´, the works o N’da Claude Gbocho has not gone unnoticed over the years.
- Lessan e. V. the community appreciate the works of Ms. Dr Gwladys Awo
- Madam Esi Akabotoo was recognized for her distinguished service to the African community over years.
One parent, Ms. Eunice Nyarkoa received the Rhensius-Krohn Prize for devoted parents who take their wards skill acquisition/ education diligently. The Prize was sponsored and presented by the honorary consul of Mali in Hamburg. Five awardees were honoured at the event to encourage other Africans to aspire for higher education and apprenticeship in Germany. The 2023 awardees are Kanéfine Traoré née Souaré -Nurse, Dr. Solange Mekamgoum -PhD, Farida Abduol Hamid -bachelor’s degree, Jewel Antwi - Nurse, Joshua Akuffo -Master’s degree, Lucy Gathoni Nyokabi -Master’s degree.
An important twist to this year’s event is the invitation of some students who moved to Hamburg due to the war in Ukraine to share their experience since they arrived in Hamburg. The young, energetic, and intellectually capable students shared depressing and sorrowful experiences they had with the immigration authorities since they arrived in Hamburg. Does Germany really want labour or want certain group of people? The experience shared by the students really show the double standard with which German authorities sometimes treat people of African origin. The students were from Engineering and the Medical fields which are the highly needed professions in Germany, but they are being treated so coldly.
As an overview, the students stated they were given 6 months to study German language to the highest level and gain fluency at near native level. Clearly, that cannot be achieved in 6 months. They were not given the option to work during that period and were also asked to put up to 10,000€ in a block account before they would be given a study visa. How do you expect students running away from a war zone to cough such an amount of money? Another experience they narrated was the deportation letters they received from Hamburg/German immigration authorities that they are sending them to their home countries.
IBAN: DE45 2005 0550 1203 1347 45
Purpose: AYEA Fundraising Campaign.
It is said “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. Let us join hands to eradicate ignorance and build the future of the African community together through education and skills acquisition.A closing remark was given by Desmond John Beddy, initiator of TopAfric followed by a networking and, socializing session with light refreshments.