This is the story of Charles Fotso, a young man who emigrated to Madrid so as to feel comfortable in his own skin and make his dreams come true: to study at university and find a job, after overcoming his disability.
Being an albino is, in and of itself, a life-threatening risk factor in many African countries and one that almost certainly leads to social exclusion, not to mention poverty. The story of Charles Fotso Kamdem tells us a great deal about the lives of many albinos in that continent.
Charles Fotso Kamdem was born in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, a sub-Saharan country in Africa. A member of a large family with 14 brothers and sisters from his father's two marriages and the youngest of his mother's four surviving children. “Of my mother's children, two of us are albinos."
After a very difficult childhood, with the help of his elder brother who had emigrated to Spain, he was able to move to Madrid. He arrived in the Spanish capital on 3 December 2005, on International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Charles is now a father, has undertaken vocational training in international trade and has a degree in economics. With a Fundacion Universia grant he has been able to pursue a professional career in Spain.
Santander, Supporting The Employment Of People With Disabilities
“I heard about Fundacion Universia at the Autonomous University of Madrid”, explains Charles. “In 2016, I applied for one of their scholarships to learn English." A couple of years later, in 2018, this linked to a job through Santander Summer Experience. “I thought it was a bit cheeky of me, considering my shortcomings, but I went for it, and it was the best work experience I had ever had."
When that experience came to an end, he followed up on it with the Santander Private Banking programme from October 2018 to July 2019. This and other Santander programmes drive the inclusion of disabled people through work, in collaboration with Fundacion Universia.
Charles has continued to collaborate with us as a mentor to prevent young students at risk of social exclusion from dropping out of school. This involvement has helped him to make a decision about his professional future: “I would like to take a master's degree in corporate social responsibility for private and public institutions. That is my dream and I am already working towards making it come true. I hope to be able to continue to rely on the support of Fundacion Universia and also to remain professionally connected to Banco Santander."