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Monday, 4 April 2016

Meet Portia Dery - Winner of Several International Opportunities!

By Portia Dery

I am extremely excited to also share my success story with the Opportunity Desk (OD) Family! Opportunity Desk truly lives up to its name as a platform that connects young people to vital opportunities at the right time. My love affair with OD began in 2014 on Facebook, and since then, my life has been filled with amazing surprises.

Are you ready to enjoy some adventure? Then grab for yourself a warm cup of coffee!

Winning Golden Baobab Prize
In 2014, (just 11 days to my birthday!), I became the first Ghanaian to win the prestigious Golden Baobab Prize for Picture book. This exciting win got me interviewed on BBC Africa, Wall Street Journal magazine, Joy News-Ghana and numerous online platforms. And now in just a couple of months, my winning book will be published by Golden Baobab in partnership with the African Women’s Development Fund-AWDF.

Selected for Tech Camp Africa, British Council Blazing Trail Fellowship and more
I got selected for Tech Camp Africa held in Ghana, got shortlisted up to the semi-final level in Ghana for the Tigo Reach for Change competition and became a Blazing Trail Fellow of the British Council. In 2015, I got selected to take part in the first cohort for E-Learning Course on Management in Health organized by World Bank. It was an amazing learning opportunity.

Runner-up of Queens Young Leaders
Very recently I have been selected as a highly commended runner-up of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty, the Queen. This is an initiative to celebrate and support young people from across the Commonwealth.

Selected for 7th UNAOC Global Forum
In addition, I have also been selected to participate in UNAOC’s 7th Global Forum to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan from 25-27 April 2016 with 150 others (out of 6000 applicants from all over the world).

Mandela Washington Fellow
What is more exciting now is that I have been selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship program taking place in the United States from June 17 - August 4, 2016. Looking forward to an amazing experience.

Opportunities I Failed At
The above stories may look very beautiful, but I have tried several opportunities and failed woefully as well. Opportunities such as the following:
  1. Global Good Fund (I made it to the 4th stage but failed to make the semi-finalist list)
  2. Echoing green (missed the final cut)
  3. Schwarzman Scholars Program
  4. African Entrepreneurship Award (got shortlisted but failed to make the final cut for the boot camp)
  5. GLG- Social Impact Fellowship
  6. Commonwealth Youth Awards For Excellence
  7. Pitch@Palace Africa (shortlisted but failed to make the final cut)
  8. Yenching Global Symposium 2016
  9. 2016 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.
Lessons Learnt

Life is filled with amazing opportunities, the key to success is to keep trying and have the right attitude to failure. Since patronizing Opportunity Desk, I have applied to over 30 opportunities (even to those I knew I was not well qualified for. Since 2014, I have kept a track record of most of the applications I failed in; this keeps me motivated.

The trick to a successful and winning application is to keep failing. When you fail in other applications, it makes you stronger and better in future applications. Every application process strengthens you for the next one.

I am grateful to Opportunity Desk, but most importantly, I am very proud that it is an African Social Venture that has been able to produce quality eye-catching content for both the local and international consumption. We can proudly point to it and shout “hey, this is created in Africa for the world!”

About Portia

Portia Dery is a writer, a community worker and the Founder/Director of the African Youth Writers Organization-AYWO. In 2013, she dared to turn her passion for reading and writing into a social entrepreneurial venture with the aim of turning Africa into a reading continent. Her social venture currently runs an innovative literacy program dubbed “the funky readwrite clinic; the first of its kind in Ghana.

We are so excited for you, and wish you the best!

Have you been successful in any of your applications? Be an inspiration to others by sharing your story with us. Do keep us in the loop of activities as they unfold.

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