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Senegalese Immigrant Creates a Path Forward through Education

Dr. Martin Luther Jr. once said, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” My educational journey could be described as crawling while consistently moving forward.

All I knew eight years ago was that I wanted, needed more education to support my family. However, I did not know how to go about getting the education. With faith and the unshakable support of my husband, I got one answer at the time along the way. I completed one school assignment at the time until I earned my General Education Diploma (GED).

Aminata Sy with her husband and children on her graduation day from Community College of Philadelphia on May 2, 2015.

This GED diploma led me to getting my associate degree in international studies. In May 2019, I plan to graduate with a bachelor degree in international relations and with an English minor from the University of Pennsylvania. When I began my GED classes, I could not have imagined all the progress that I have made. My education has allowed me to work in the areas of journalism, communications, government, academic research, education, and entrepreneurship. As an immigrant, English learner, low income background individual, wife, mother, first-generation college student, I have had to jump many many hurdles to achieve progress. Today, I am teaching the next generation through African Community Learning Program.

African Community Learning Program first semester work in fall 2017.

I look at my GED graduation photo with a deep sense of gratitude for what this moment has meant to me, my family, my communities, and every single person who has supported me, every single person who has been motivated or inspired by my journey. “I am because we are.”

Aminata Sy GED graduation from Center for Literacy in May 2011.

Aminata Sy is the founder and president of African Community Learning Program, a multimedia journalist, and a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies international relations and English. She is also the founder, editor, and publisher of the #500EmpoweringAfricanStories Project.

To support African Community Learning Program visit:

Twitter @aminata2016

Email Aminata Sy at

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