One of the country’s prolific youth leaders and outspoken poet, Omar ‘Champion’ Cham, has shared his emotional story on the sidelines of his graduation from the University of The Gambia with a bachelor’s degree in law.
The UTG convocation ceremony, where Omar and his compatriots had their degrees in various fields of study officially conferred on them, was held on Saturday at the QCity arena in Bijilo.
The event was graced by President Adama Barrow, top government functionaries, scholars and academics, among a host of other dignitaries.
Omar’s story is just one of many testimonies of hardships and ordeals shared by the new UTG graduands.
Sharing his story on his social media handles, the Champion Poet explained: “I lost my dad few days to the start of my university journey. This meant I had to inherit the role of family head as I got into the toughest university experience.
“This was two years after I got my first UTG admission, and starting was a utopian dream because I had no one to help.”
Omar recounts his ordeal in the journey of acquiring higher education: “I needed to be rescued with payment of tuition fee just few weeks to the first semester exams hence I did not even know how I did the exams.
“However I paid late for another semester and had to negotiate to be allowed into the exams hall. For two consecutive papers, I missed over 20 minutes of the time, and also sitting to these exams I was wondering if my grades would, in fact, be entered into the portal despite my efforts.”
Omar recalled that he had written several letters to the admin to allow him attend classes because he could not pay his tuition fees on time. He said he could not even remember how many classes he missed in the course of balancing his academic dreams with family needs.
“I have done assignments whilst in a car going on trek or during sessions in the communities. I did assignments an hour to submission because the two weeks given were spent on ensuring there was no hunger at home,” he narrated, saying: “There were times I attended class just for the sake of attending. These challenges were never enough to stop me from pursuing my dream. It was a resilient fight, a giant stride and a commitment to defy all odds.
“It was during this trying times that I was still able to serve diligently the TRRC, the NYP, the National Poetry Slam, the Kids Podium and other organizations leading development endeavours, whilst carrying the future of GamPoetry on my head.
“The combination of these is what makes me a CHAMPION. It was all about meeting your dreams while serving the family, the communities, the country and the world at large, the doctrine of leading while bleeding.”
The overjoyed poet says further: “Love for service cuts across these tenets. Above all, HONOURS on my degree was unbelievable. To me, it was all about making it through the four years.”