What are the chances of growing up in a poor Nigerian village and obtaining a degree from a U.S. College? What are the chances of that same girl flying a plane? What are the chances that she would become an aerospace engineer and becoming CEO of an aerospace company she founded?
Escape Velocity – Journey of hope is the incredible true story of that young woman–Onyema Ajuogu and her inspirational journey of overcoming overwhelming obstacle to make her dreams come true. As a child, Onyema saw an enchanting picture of beautiful flowers on a cover magazine that said “Sweet Home Alabama.” Little could she, or anyone else have imagined that she would attend school in that very same State. Driven by incredible faith and an unstoppable spirit, full of courage and a will to survive. Onyema who has no role model nor support but with the help of information from browsing the internet helped her found her way to United States of America.
When Onyema was about eight years old she saw a plane for the first time in her life, flying over her village and her dreams took flight. She believed that one day she would fly a plane and with tremendous resilience, courage, persistence and unbreakable determination Onyema found a way to go even further than just becoming a pilot.
Onyema’s journey takes her from the villages of Nigeria, to some of the most prestigious institutions in the United States. Her path is teeming with characters, many of whom generously helped her in times of need, and at critical moments stepped up to support her. Others tried to exploit her, even trying to enslave her. However, Onyema never gave up, she faced her challenges head-on and overcame them one by one and made it to the top of founding an aerospace company. She did what was as needed to succeed, even if that meant working four jobs to support herself while taking university courses.
In aerospace terminology, Escape Velocity is the speed needed to pull clear of earth’s gravity. Onyema’s story is about escape velocity of a different kind – Life Escape Velocity. It is the force needed to escape destitution, hardships, gender, socioeconomic and national gravitational pulls that hinders you to achieve a dream, to overcome your circumstances. Onyema’s story is a message of hope for anyone who has a dream, especially one that seems not just unlikely but unreachable. In her life-story she shows what determination and persistence can do. She faced many challenges in her young life and still she believed in her dream and at the end made it because she choose to do so.
Having achieved the seemingly impossible, Onyema is now an inspirational role model for young people everywhere and has founded a nonprofit organization called “Benignant STEM Innovation Foundation” to inspire others, particularly women from less developed countries.
Onyema who’ve seen poverty and known struggle; who have pulled herself up from the shackles of heartache and strife, exhaustion and drain, Onyema rose a heart as open and unwaveringly wide as the ocean itself and still wants to give back to society, still and wants to better the world for other young women and girls around the world. Helping them know their ability in making waves, in shifting patterns with tides and in creating a change.
She brings a message of hope for anyone who has a dream, especially one that seems not just unlikely but unreachable. She want other to follow in her footsteps, to emulate her remarkable achievements.
What are the odds of a poor girl, growing up without a mother or a father in the house; having to hawk snacks to be able to attend school, to buy her text books and to support her family; to pull clear of her life’s gravity? She pulled free from being a house maid in order to go to secondary school; pulled free from circumstances no young child should be faced with. She constantly kept her head high and faced her challenges, facing the difficulty of researching on internet to find a way of being accepted by a U.S. university.
How is it possible that a poor girl, arriving in the USA, with absolutely no money, stranded at the airport and knowing no one, would still realize her dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer?
For people like Onyema, the odds just don’t matter. For some people, faith is more important than probability, resilience and persistence more important than chance, belief more than constraints.
For Onyema Ajuogu and those she is helping, it is more than possible. It is happening!