Making college achievable
for young refugees
When it comes to building a career, few things are as valuable as a college education. Lions players are often approaching the time in their lives when many young people make a decision about higher education.
Sadly, all too often, this is not a choice they have to make. College simply isn't practical. The cost is prohibitively high, and they don't have access to traditional forms of financial support.
That's where you can help.
The Lions is offering a number of scholarships, funded by private and corporate donors, to help make college a reality for players who show genuine commitment to the team, their studies and to the Amaanah charity.
Sponsoring a scholarship can change a life permanently. If you know anyone, whether it's you, your company, or any other organization who could be interested in making this commitment, we would love to talk.
There are many benefits. Your donation is often an allowable tax deduction, and we have lots of great opportunities for you to interact with us and with the recipient of your scholarship. We'll also work with you on PR and getting you the positive publicity your generosity deserves. Opportunities are available between $2,000 and $15,000.
To find out more, fill out the form below, or text Richard Spragg on (713) 876 6045.
2021 Scholarship Candidates
Aman and his family fled Burma to escape the violence and persecution experienced by the Rohingya people. He served as the Lions' first captain in our inaugural season, and was named Clubman of the Year for his off-pitch contribution to the program. He hopes to graduate in Computer Science at the University of Houston.
"I came to the realization that in this country you can achieve any goals of yours when you put your mind to it and are willing to work. One of my goals in life is to give back to the community and to help other kids who are less fortunate." - Aman Hussein
Yomi is one of those young athletes who actually had a real shot to the professional level, which is one of the main tickets out of the hardship some African counties goes through. Having played in the Nigerian National team’s young categories, and with some pro and semi pro clubs in Europe, Cvid has really halted his journey. Yomi was smart enough to have a plan B in case the football ticked didn’t work out, pursuing higher education and getting a degree to fall back on. However , life in the states has proven much difficult with high tuitions, high cost of living, and not being eligible to work on his student visa. Despite this, he remains a cheerful contributor to the team, using his experience to develop less experienced players around him.
“It has been really challenging, and I had to make lots of sacrifices to make up for things. I can sleep in my car, but my tuition has to be paid because I can not afford to lose my status.” - Yomi Bakari
Hla, who is of Karen origin, was born in the Mae La Camp, a refugee camp in Thailand. His family were victims of the long running violence perpetuated by the Burmese military against ethnic minorities. Hla is the Lions' goalkeeper, and was the 2019/2020 Player of the Season. He is a regular fixture volunteering in the community for Amaanah. Hla plans to study Geology, beginning in 2022.
"I didn’t know much about the ongoing war, but through the vivid memories of my father and mother I realized the many horrors that were happening to the Karen people. Yet despite these events my family moved forward. With this scholarship, my goal of reaching my ideal career will come into fruition." - Hla Aye
Eh K Ya Htu
Eh K Ya's family is from Burma, although he has never seen his home country. Born as a refugee in Thailand, he grew up helping on his family's small farm and living with his brothers and sisters in open bamboo huts. After many years in the camp, he moved to the United States and settled in Houston. He is studying Computer Science at the University of Houston. He has played football with Amaanah for seven years, and has been a strong presence at the heart of the Lions' defense.
"Though I was afraid, I knew it was a great chance to start again. Everything was so different! We lived in an apartment (with walls) with a heater and air conditioner instead of an open-air hut. I was introduced to new cultures, foods, and languages. The first years were an adjustment. At school, I got bullied for my poor English but in spite of that, I strove to learn and improve." - Eh K Ya Htu
When Evan arrived alone in the United States, he settled in Boston but, after difficulties with his living arrangements there, he made his way to Houston. Here. other members of the Gabonese community helped him to settle and to find a place at HCC. He is studying nursing, and hopes one day to become a cardiologist.
"I know that to reach my goal I must work hard. I really like taking care of people. I really think my degree will improve my life because I will serve my community by providing good services. Having this scholarship will help my family and I to achieve my goal." - Evan Ngonda
Ashis grew up in the refugee camps of Nepal, after his family left Bhutan. Living conditions in the camps were poor. The houses were made of bamboo and there was no electricity available. Water and food were centrally rationed; it is an incredibly difficult environment for young children. Through the refugee resettlement program, Ashis found his way to the US, pursuing an opportunity for a real education and any chance he could find to play soccer.
"I chose Automotive Technology because I have a strong interest in the subject. If I receive the financial support from Amaanah, it will give me relief to know that I can secure my classes for the upcoming semester. It can help me with my financial burden regarding school expenses." - Ashis Yaka
Adnan and his family faced continual harassment from their country's ruling government. The unrest in the country had created an uncertain environment for everyone. The government clamped down on any form of opposition and thousands of people were arrested, detained without trial and killed. Families known to be opposed to the regime faced a dangerous and uncertain future. In the hope of a fairer opportunity, his family applied for asylum in the US.
"While hoping for our situation to improve, I will focus on my study to help myself, my family, and the people around me when I graduate. The most important aspect of computer science is problem solving, an essential skill for life. Students study the design, development and analysis of software and hardware used to solve problems in a variety of business, scientific and social contexts." - Adnan Mohammed
Abdul Kader Kone
Abdul Kader Kone is a young ambitious kid from the west coast of Africa. His family has made huge sacrifices to find a way to send him far away from home to pursue his dreams, and seek a better opportunity. He is committed to taking full advantage of the chance he has been given, in order for him to achieve his dream of completing a college degree.
"Education means everything to me, I believe that it is a powerful tool we can use to improve ourselves , our community and the whole world. These are the reasons why I am devoted to my studies, and will not let anything disturb me from this perspective. I want to make my parents proud of me because they have made a lot of sacrifices for me. Moreover, I would like to say to myself ‘it was not easy but you made it’. Education is the only weapon I will use to achieve all my goals.'' - Abdul Kader Kone.
Ali moved to the United states fleeing the harsh life and lack of opportunity in his home country Morocco. Coming to America and settling, has proven to be much more challenging than expected, having to deal with the vicious circle of low paying jobs and a high cost of living. With his soccer skills and talent, he could have joined any soccer team in the Houston area, yet he decided to join the Amannah because of what it provides as a family, and as a safe healthy environment.
"After a few months of looking for jobs, my father, whom I would barely see, attained 3 different jobs, and would work from 10.00am until 4.00am at night, leaving him with less than six hours for sleep and his family.
I know our journey has not been easy, but I believe that the foundation laid in my education from a young age will open help make my future brighter." - Ali Zawal
Gunjan's accomplishments since arriving in the USA are astonishing. He is the first of the Lions to graduate from college, and is now looking to study a Masters Degree in Statistics and Data Science. All this in a new language, ten thousand miles from his home in the Goldhap refugee camp. While he was able to earn sponsorships for his under graduate degree, there are far fewer opportunities for funding at this level of study. His accomplishments are an inspiration to other young people like him.
"Moving to the United States as a 9 year old was difficult. The immediate switch of culture was terrifying. I remember my first few months in school where I could not understand what was going on. Seeing such a diversified environment blew my mind and it definitely took time to adjust. I could have never imagined that such a place existed with people from so many different backgrounds." - Gunjan Neopaney
Could you or your organization help change a life for good? Please get in touch.