Ill tell you right away: this is a begging-for-money mail. Ive never written one before, I dislike them myself, but now I dont know what to do anymore. For seven years Ingeborg has done all she could for her African protégé - Ibrahime - and I cant bear to see how this project would end in failure. I send this letter to 130 people with a Great Heart: 50 from my address book and 80 from Ingeborgs.
In 2000 when she made the documentary Dear Europe in Guinée Conakry about Yaguine and Fodé, two teenagers who hid themselves in the landing gear of a Sabena Airbus and didnt find their European Paradise but death instead she and her colleague, her sound-, and cameraman adopted the main character: Ibrahime Diallo.
At the time this intelligent boy, living in a slum, was 18 years old and extremely motivated to make a life for himself in spite of the squalor in which he lived. Ingeborg and her crew wanted to give Ibrahime the opportunity to study law abroad something he wanted very much in order to help his country. Since 2000 every two or three months he received roughly 300, at first from all four, finally mainly from her, since some of the others gradually withdrew.
Ibrahime was exemplary: he finished high school and acquired a law degree with honours at a local university. Unfortunately such a local degree doesnt mean very much, but was nevertheless quite an achievement in a country in which one persons possessions have to be shared with a large number of relatives. At the time Ingeborg gave a severe speech to his large family, threatening to stop the money as soon as she would find out they would profit from his subsidy. Ibrahime complied (the only exception was when he called, asking permission to pay for his mothers appendix operation, without which she would die). Ingeborg also supervised his grades through someone in Conakry: if he would fail, she would end the sponsoring. But he never failed once.
Furthermore he took the initiative for a computer course which allows him a small income. Also he learned English (Guinée is French speaking). Over the telephone he suddenly spoke English to me: surprise! Since then we correspond in English. He is an adorable guy with a lot of potential.
Now the big problem is to get him to Europe to study international law at a serious university financially that is. Since with considerable effort Ingeborg succeeded in having him enrolled at the University of Limoges, which has a good department of international law where they consider his African diploma equal to a Bachelors, so he immediately can do his Masters.
Considerable effort because it is almost impossible to get someone who is not a member of the ruling elite into a foreign university at all. Ingeborg also paid the costs for his registration of 1000 and found a French citizen who will vouch for him, as is the demand of the French authorities. To be accepted by a European university is a true miracle. If he cannot go this year everything has to be done all over, with the risk of being turned down an unbearable thought after all these efforts, I find.
Now the only obstacle is money for his rent and living expenses, which Ingeborg did not succeed in getting. A scholarship is out of the question again for someone outside the ruling clique of Guinée. Fortunately Ingeborg knows quite a few rich people. For them (tax benefits!) it was necessary to find a legal body such as a foundation and to expand the project to six youngsters from Conakry. Few people or organisations appear to be willing to sponsor an individual.
When all this was arranged, one by one the rich withdrew. Some because they already gave big sums to other good causes. Often they were quite willing but now is not a good time, come back in a few months but then it will be too late.
Ibrahime Diallo now 25 years of age now is one of six students of the Yaguine&Fod;é Studyproject which is endorsed by a trustworthy foundation, that helps handicapped kids to go to school in Conakry, called Nimba: www.nimba.nl.
On this site youll find all necessary information. Apart from the Project Letter there are pictures and stories from Ibrahime and his friends themselves! (Click the British flag at the right top corner, then on Yaguine&Fod;é Studyproject.)
If enough money is donated Ibrahime will be the first to study in France. Hopefully, in the end therell be enough for the other five boys. (Nimba selected boys on purpose because for girls theres a lot more charity: positive discrimination.)
Bottom line: all papers are there but the money is not.
The French authorities demand 14.000 (living expenses, rent and insurance) on a special account as a condition for getting a visa. Ingeborg is desperate for failing to raise this money and my heart breaks too when I think everything may have been in vain.
My mother is so sweet as to contribute 500, I will give 250 and Ingeborg another 250. This leaves 13.000 to be raised.
Here the begging begins. It would be marvellous if each of you 130 could spare 100. But not very realistic. Some will be able to give very little, some this 100, and hopefully some others can and will give more. Perhaps you have generous friends or relatives who will join you in the effort to get close to this 100. (Imagine three people who can afford 50, then we hope on one to do 250, in order to reach the average of 100.) Think with us, send this on! Please: Ibrahime (and Ingeborg too) really deserve this!
Ingeborg has planned a large offensive to raise money for the coming years, which simply must succeed. Right now the thing is to get him to France for his first year of study, until September 2008. One thing is certain: every single cent will directly go to Ibrahime. So please transfer money to:
- Nimba Foundation, Loon op Zand,
- o.v.v. Ibrahime Diallo
- Rabobank 129724009
- IBAN: NL52RABO129 7240 09
- BIC: RABONL2U
Please do it right away, since Ibrahime already has to be present for his first class on 14 August. We have permission from the university till the end of August to get everything right.
Please make Ibrahime happy and the world a better place. It hás to be possible to let just one African boy, maybe more, study in Europe. It would be marvellous when seven years of effort, especially Ibrahimes own, would be rewarded with the realization of this wonderful opportunity.
Well keep you informed through the Nimba-site!
Love & Regards,