3 March, 2021
Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) provides opportunities for Catholic women religious in African countries to access undergraduate and master’s level education. The following essays are by Holy Child sisters who have benefited from the HESA.
DREAMS COME TRUE
By Rev. Sr. Pauline Chiamaka Okoroafor, SHCJ
As a human being, I have often found myself in a dream land signifying my aspirations and the goals I would like to achieve in life. As I reflect, I could see how God in his own way has brought my two most important dreams namely my dream of becoming a religious, and a graduate of Education/English into reality.
It all started in 2009 when I sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for the first time with the hope of furthering my education. That same year, I also attended an interview with the Sisters of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) to begin the Candidacy programme. I attempted the two with the hope of getting one.
However, something interesting happened along the line. I passed the examination very well with a total score of 292. I was to study English Language at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I was also accepted to begin the Candidacy programme that same year. There were two ways now open for me to choose one. I became confused about which way I should follow. To discern God’s will for me at this point became a challenge.
As a young lady, my dream was to become a religious sister. I also had a dream to become an English teacher someday. My idea of becoming an English teacher came after sitting for West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for four consecutive times because of English Language. When I finally got a Credit in English Language, I vowed to study English Language at the university level with the hope of improving myself and helping students who have challenges with the English Language.
After a long battle of discernment, I made up my mind to go for the SHCJ Candidacy programme, letting go of the idea of furthering my education. In 2012, I made my Temporary Profession of Vows in the SHCJ and my first dream became a reality.
As God would have it, in 2015, the African Province Leadership Team of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus sent me a Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) scholarship form to fill for my further studies. It was like a dream! Through this scholarship programme, I gained admission into Veritas University Abuja in 2016 to study Education English and today, my dream of becoming an English teacher has come true as I was awarded B.A. Ed. in Education English with Second Class Upper Division on the 30th January 2021 to the glory of God.
I am most grateful to God almighty for making my dreams to come true; being a religious sister and now a certified English teacher. My profound gratitude goes to the Sisters of the SHCJ for the opportunity to further my studies. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to the sponsors and coordinators of the Higher Education for Sisters in Africa (HESA) for sponsoring my education. God bless you all.
HONESTY IS THE FRUIT OF GOOD LABOUR
Sr. Juliana Okafor, SHCJ
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In other words, I began my undergraduate degree in 2017 due to my unceasing quest for both secular and non-secular knowledge. I availed myself the opportunity of taking online courses in subjects of my choice across different universities of the world through edx. EdX is an American Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider created by Harvard and MIT. It hosts online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide student body, including some courses at no charge. Through edx and other MOOCs such as Alison, Coursera, FutureLearn, Udacit, coupled with an open library, I was able to navigate my way in any online courses. Therefore, when I was asked to go for further studies online for a year at Rosemont College, USA and continue on-site at Veritas University, Abuja, under the auspices of HESA’s fully funded scholarship, my joy knew no bound. It was a dream come true. After my online studies at Rosemont College USA, I was admitted into Veritas University, Abuja to study Education Economics on-site.
Education Economics is my ideal course, and so, specializing in it, is once again a dream come true. What helped me to emerge as the best graduating student in my department was my philosophy of life, which says, “Honesty is the fruit of good labour.” I was honest with my studies and did my very best to understand my subject matter while endlessly helping others to understand those courses in Economics which they had challenges on. I must say, categorically, that it is not easy for one to have “First Class” in his or her areas of specialization. It demands constant studies, dedication to assignments and research; postponement of immediate gratifications by self-discipline; identifying opportunities to attain set goals and objectives, knowing programme requirements and timelines; establishing positive relationships with all and sundry, and bringing a professional approach to studies and interactions. All these means are keys for academic success, which helped to enhance my profound performance in my course of studies.
All glory and honour be to God for his great providence, love, and mercies bestowed on me during my undergraduate degree. It will be a mark of ingratitude if I fail to appreciate the efforts of HESA (Higher Education for Sisters in Africa) for giving me the scholarship to study my dream course at Veritas University, Abuja. I say long live HESA for contributing to the profound education of the African Sisters! I cannot appreciate enough the efforts of my SHCJ family for their sisterly support in all ramifications. May God keep you all in good health of mind and body. What is worth doing is worth doing well! While doing that which is worth doing well, do not forget that honesty is the fruit of good labour.