I’m Akoua Kadanga or Valerie for the intimates. I hold a Bachelor degree in Business Law from the University of KARA in TOGO. Despite the financial difficulties, which are made worse by my poor family background, I have always been ambitious and determined to further and complete my studies. Unfortunately, after my baccalaureate’s degree in 2013, my financial difficulties worsened due to lack of support and I could not attend classes every day and, as a matter of fact could not get the learning materials required for my classes. A law student who had the Grain de Sel Togo, Inc. scholarship had spoken to us about this opportunity but at that time I was not qualified to apply for it. So, in December 2014, when I was in second year of undergraduate program (Bachelor’s degree program), I applied and luckily, was selected for the interview. Fortunately, my application was accepted and I was able to benefit from the Grain De Sel Excellence Award offered by Grain de Sel togo, Inc. (GDS or GDSTOGO), a non-profit US-based international organization, Created by a group of Togolese beneficiaries of the Fulbright scholarship. GDS’s mission is to support students from public universities in Africa who are assiduous, excellent and motivated but are materially deprived. Since then, this institution has provided me with unwavering multi-faceted support: financial, academic, technical and moral support. This helped me pay for my tuition, my supplies, and to support myself. In addition, I was able to participate for the first time in my life in the online courses of the Free University of GDSTOGO (ULGDS), which prepared me and awakened. I also had to attend a professional development seminar, organized by GDS and facilitated by the Director General, specially from the USA. His presence at the seminar alongside the GDS Staff based in Togo has been a renewed call to excellence, motivation and inspiration, reflecting the importance that GDS places on education. He spoke to us on many subjects accompanied by valuable pieces of advice. Thanks to GDS, I acquired new knowledge such as administrative writing (examples: formal letter and e-mails, letter of application for internship and employment, etc.), drafting and project management, Research, blog and website creation, leadership, etc. All of these courses were through the ULGDS online course portal.
The support of GDSTOGO was for me like fuel for a vehicle. It relieved me of my worries, while allowing me to concentrate on my studies. I was therefore more motivated to redouble my efforts and excel. To encourage me to do so, and, based on the excellence of my academic performance of 2nd year, GDS renewed my scholarship, which allowed me to obtain my LMD license in three years.
I must admit and acknowledge here that without the help of GDS, I would not have had my BA by now because, I would have dropped out studies for the aforementioned reasons. This institution has really alleviated my misery and allowed me to shine with a smile on my lips. I am aware of it and will remain grateful throughout my life. As soon as I obtained my license, I was able to find an internship in the National Chamber of Bailiffs of Togo and to be honest, it is thanks to the tips and tricks that GDS taught me that I was admitted there. Indeed, I was called to start this course only two weeks after the submission of my application. What a luck! All this I owe to GDS.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contribute to and continue to support the actions of GDS. Your support has not been in vain. In return, I promise, as much as possible, to make GDSTOGO known to the authorities of the country so that they too can contribute to help other students who live the same situation as me. I also promise to contribute when I have some means to give back what has been given to me.
Long live Grain de Sel Togo, Inc.!