From a Cameroonian Hut to Harvard University

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The time was 7:50am, Sunday October 11, 2020, two pictures, six words, received staggering 2.5 million likes and 237 thousand retweets and comments.

27 year old Desmond Tanko Jumbam of Cameroonian origin, made a simple tweet of 6 words with one picture of a slum house in Yaounde, Cameroon where he grew up, next to his Harvard University badge.

Why the millions of likes?

His tweet appeared simple but worth more than a thousand words as it received in no distant time, millions of likes, thousands of retweets and comments.

Harvard University is arguably regarded as the pinnacle of education and anyone who succeeds to make a frog leap into this prestigious institution glams with honour and recognition.

This is not a regular route for most people from swampy homes especially cutting across the African continent into a shack house in some part of Cameroon’s capital. Interestingly, Tanko catapults his way, walking this road from a shanty to a “hall of fame”- Harvard University.

While many exalted his tweet with praises, others bashed in with negative energy and derogatory comments. Neither of these could however downturn his growth curve.

Who is Desmond Tanko Jumbam?

rags to grace

A Desmond Tanko, especially in recent times is as scarce as a dog’s tear. He is a health policy consultant at an international non-profit organization called “Operation Smile” that provides free cleft lip surgery and care to children in over 30 countries.

Dr Jumbam’s expression portrays a soul who had an unquenchable thirst for quality education. With little or no resources at the start of his journey, his determination and resilience were able to position him on the world map.

This is a story of hope to the weary in times of blurred dreams with sunken realities. Your story can be and even better than Tanko’s.


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