Congratulations to Nadege Cibogo Felista of Congo, winner of the Education Above All PitchFest! Nadege will have an exciting opportunity to make a short film in partnership with Education Above All, a globally recognized foundation committed to advancing education for youth and women in the developing world. In her film, Nadege will interview female role models who have overcome obstacles and gone on to succeed. She hopes the film will inspire other Congolese girls who are facing obstacles to getting, or continuing, their education.
Nadege’s own story is pretty inspiring, too. Sent to an orphanage at the age of 3 because of her family’s financial hardships, she managed to finish secondary school thanks to assistance from SOS Children’s Village. Later, when she said she wanted to go to university, everyone urged her to find a husband instead. “Marriage is considered the biggest achievement in my hometown of Bukavu,” she says. Determined to pursue her dreams, Nadege persisted. She is now a trainee doctor in her final year of medical school. Her goal is to become an oncologist to fill a pressing need for cancer specialists in her community.
What advice does Nadege have for other girls who are facing obstacles to their dreams? “Don’t be afraid to take risks,” she says. “By trying you lose nothing, and even when you fail, you improve your skills, develop patience, and strengthen your resolve. Have a clear vision of what you want, and create your own measure of success.” To other girls who, like her, love science, she says, “stay enthusiastic in the face of any criticism or discouragement you encounter.” You may face obstacles, but you may also find help in unexpected places. She likes to quote Paulo Coello, whose words seem to describe her own journey: “When you really want something, all the universe conspires to allow you to achieve your dream.”