Gunjurian captures prestigious Brunei King’s scholarship to study in the US
A native of Gunjur, Buba K Touray, has become only the second African to benefit from the prestigious Brunei King’s scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management which will take him on an academic odyssey to Asia and North America.
Buba K Topuray won the prestigious Brunei King’s scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management
Speaking to Gunjuronline after his arrival at Maryland University in the United States where he is kicking off his latest academic challenge, Buba reveals: “I feel extremely lucky to benefit from this scholarship from a highly competitive pool of over 900 applicants. I came up against a lot of highly intelligent and accomplished competitors from around the world, and I am lucky to have been selected for this scholarship. They put a lot of emphasis on work experience with communities, and my work experience with the people of Gunjur has given me the edge.I am very thankful for the opportunity to serve my community and the experience has been essential for my success”. Though he is still trying to adjust to the frigid weather conditions in Maryland compared to the sunny, tropical weather of the sprawling coastal town of Gunjur; Buba is not oblivious to his run of good fortune given his brush with extreme poverty as a child which forced him to drop out of junior school following the demise of his father and elder brother who were the bread winners of the family. Buba , 32, attended Gunjur Lower School and started the Upper Basic School with the aim of proceeding to high school, but life had its trials and tribulations lying in wait for him. Almost choking with emotion but eager to share his inspiring story with people back home,he recalled: “I dropped out due to unpaid school fees following the demise of my father in 1997. I remained a school drop-out for five solid years from from 1997 to 2003.During this time I started apprenticeship to become a tailor which I completed successfully. After being a school drop-out for five years, I decided to go back to school and continue my education with the help of my brothers. I was readmitted to Gunjur Upper basic School and started from grade seven”. With ambition and persistence, he would proceed to The Gambia Muslim High School, where he took The West African Senior Secondary School Examination in 2008 with success and decided to plough on to university of The Gambia. Upon graduation from the university of The Gambia in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Management as major and minor in Finance,Buba worked for a year as a National Volunteer with Voluntary Service Oversees (V.S.O.) in partnership with The Gambia Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education. Of his work experience following university graduation, Buba tells more: “I was later appointed as the Program Manager with a community-based NGO (Trust Agency for Rural Development - ‘TARUD’) operating in the West Coast Region of The Gambia, where I managed a youth development and empowerment scheme, helping participants to build their own micro-business; writing business plans, managing micro loans and advice on building an effective business”. Coming as it did at a time when illegal migration to Europe by Gambian youths through Mediterranean had reached stratospheric levels, Buba points out the programme, which was designed to sustainably reduce unemployment and help grow the economy, has successfully enabled many young people to set up successful businesses. He added: “This helped me develop skills in business development, training others, communication at all levels and negotiation with individuals and community groups. My responsibilities included managing the project budget to ensure that project funds were disbursed properly, expenditures are in accordance with the project document and project work plans, accounting records and making sure supporting documents are properly kept, financial reports are prepared, as well as making sure financial operation procedures or regulations are properly applied”. This experience opened doors of opportunities for him to work with a number of British charities including Arkleton Trust, Marlborough Brandt group, Saint James Palace and Be Reel Project. In June 2018 , he won one of the most competitive scholarships in the world a to pursue Masters of Public Policy and Management (MPPM) at the Institute of Policy Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. He is now the second African Student to receive the prestigious scholarship, which is different from the regular Brunei government scholarships as it enables him to study in Brunei and abroad.
On a more reflective bent, Buba asses his progress thus far: “I am beyond thrilled to be among the three international students selected and being the only African Student to be selected for this scholarship last year. I have made good progress with my studies and successfully completed the first leg of the program at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. I am pleased to be at the University of Maryland in the United States of America for the second leg of the program”.
With Prof. Mike and Ms Ying at University of Maryland Washington DC, USA