The African Youth Education Awards (AYEA) 2022 marked its 10th anniversary on Saturday, 22 October, in Hamburg.
The prestigious venue, a hall in the historic building housing the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hamburg, was packed full of young people, their parents and guests, including diplomats, politicians, city officials and a vice-president of the German federal parliament (Bundestag), Aydan Özoğuz.
Young people of African origin in Germany who had performed exceptionally well in their educational and training pursuits in the past year received awards at the ceremony.
Initiated ten years ago to act against the observed low educational achievement levels among Black youths in Germany then, AYEA has proved to be a most impactful initiative in the African community in Germany.
And I made that point when I spoke briefly after receiving an Honorary Award for Community Service from the organisers of AYEA.
AYAE is premised on the belief that positive role models from within their own communities will inculcate a higher sense of self-efficacy in the youths and push them to achieve their potential.
“The project is focused on motivating youths with African origin to study or learn a vocational trade. It goes further in encouraging African parents to support their children particularly at early stages of their schooling,” AYEA says. “The AYEA event provides an outstanding platform for celebrating success, networking, socialization and integration.”
In Germany, not only is tertiary education tuition free, students are allowed to work and they can receive financial support from government. Moreover, those who opt for vocational training will receive monthly stipend during the duration of their training.
AYEA deserves all the support the community can give it and the best support is to actively participate in it. In fact, AYEA should be held regionally and at a second stage, at the federal level. That is the way to go to institutionalise the award. And regional community associations should partner with the AYEA organisers to make that happen.
Kudos to Desmond John Beddy, the founder of AYEA, and his team for this wonderful initiative. And my sincere appreciation to them for honouring me too on Saturday for my humble contributions to our community.