Hello people. Hope your week is going well so far…Today’s WCW is an amazing chica Minella!
The perception and role of Beauty pageants is one topic I have always wanted to write about. Meet one Miss who wants to change that perception of reigning beauty queens especially among Cameroonians. Miss Cameroon USA 2017- 2018 is Beauty & Brains personified. Meet Minella Majenu Patcha.…
Who is Minella Majenu Patcha??
Minella is a philanthropist, mentor, and an advocate for girl education, who believes in the spirit of community, hope and love. Though coming from a humble background, she does not feel a sense of vulnerability (or hopelessness) towards pursuing her purpose. She springs forward with every step, stays determined and focuses on achieving her wildest dreams, especially those that scare her most.
Born and raised the beautiful country of Cameroon (Central Africa), she developed a deep passion for culture and community. She graduated from one of the most prestigious high school’s in the North-West Region of Cameroon – St Bede’s College, Ashing-Kom. Thereafter, moved to United States, where she obtained a bachelor and master’s degree in petroleum geology from Texas A&M University and University of Arkansas, respectively.
As a philanthropist, Minella is the Goodwill Ambassador for Hope4Children Cameroon, an NGO that has provided over 1300 children with the opportunity of free education, built over 7 toilets and 2 school in various communities in Kom. She is also the Young Ambassador for Connecting Angels, a Houston based NGO, where is feeds the homeless in her community, every last-Saturday of the month.
As a mentor, she organizes events for the youth to foster growth, discipline and a sense of responsibility and community service.
As Miss Cameroon USA 2017-18, she is first and foremost the voice for girls in her community, who are not given the right to a basic education because they are seen more as commodities to be “sold” into marriage or as maids in their own homes. In addition, she endeavors to foster and boost the Cameroonian culture in every domain.
Why did you compete for Miss Cameroon USA?
Sometime in 2012 (or 2013?), I registered for the Miss Africa Texas pageant and a week before the competition, I withdrew my application, because I did not feel “qualified” or “competitive enough”. February 21st, 2017, I got into a ghastly motorcycle accident in Douala that left me bed-bound for over a month due to severe concussions, and on the verge of an amputation. During that time, I promised myself to “live outside of my comfort zone” because that is where life really begins.
During this time, my work with Hope4children Cameroon was ongoing; sponsoring free education in the remote villages of Cameroon. However, there was a lack in the number of girls who enrolled in these schools. Some reasons for their low enrollment rates ranged from poor sanitary conditions to lack of tuition and but the most disturbing was the simple fact that they were girls. To create better awareness about this ongoing crisis, I needed a larger audience, Miss Cameroon USA was just the right move at the time. Having little to no understanding as to what it entails, I reluctantly submitted my application 2 hours to the deadline, because educating tomorrow’s leaders trumped all my insecurities.
What do you want to achieve as Miss Cameroon/ what issues you want to handle or create awareness about?
My platform as Miss Cameroon is centered on fostering the importance of girl education. More than 124 million children globally do not have access to basic education, 64 million of which are girls, and 59 million of those girls are from sub-Saharan Africa. Here are some more facts and disturbing numbers to ponder: Do you know girls who do not get an education earn lower salaries, are at risk of child marriages and/or abuse. Uneducated mothers have higher infant and maternal mortality rates, are more likely to contract HIV and less likely to immunize their children? Per the 2015 data recorded by Plan International, globally 120million girls have experienced sexual violence, half of which are under the age of 16, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18 and 2 million give birth under the age of 15 each year. In a recent report by BBC Africa, “at the end of primary school in Cameroon, only 5% of girls from the poorest families were at a level to continue with their education, compared to 76% of girls from wealthy families”. Reports like these are the main reason I am a delegate at this year’s Winter Youth Assembly in the United Nations, to network with world leaders, create partnerships and secure sponsorships.
Though fostering the education of the next generation of leaders is significant, I also want to create a forum of “Women who Lead”. It is vital that these future leaders have examples to emulate. We need less “Instagram Slay Queens” and more “Boardroom Goddesses”. In today’s society, dominated mostly by male leadership, we are afflicted with a lot of war, famine, corruption, etc. In my opinion, there has never been a better time in history for women to rise and LEAD, because the future is FEMALE…
Aside from these, I am also open to involvement in other ongoing projects in Cameroon. There are some phenomenal minds doing magnificent work, and I am very much available to partner, promote or sponsor where need be.
What is your opinion about beauty pageants in general?
If I was asked this question 5 years ago, my response would most likely correlate with the majority’s perception– the measure of physical beauty, PERIOD! This is the main reason I withdrew my application from Miss Africa Texas many years ago. I believed then, that it was all about Beauty and no PURPOSE. Despite this misconception, beauty pageants ARE NOT ALL ABOUT BEAUTY! With stage and crown being used as tools to voice out fresh opinions and raise awareness, it’s unfortunate that people still refuse to see how pageants can be a platform for change. Pageant girls are smart and very talented women trying to change the world and by doing whatever they can. They partake not just to win the beauty contest, but to do good in the world. In these competitions, a pretty face is just not enough (I would not be the winner of Miss Cameroon if this was the case, lol). When you open your mouth and you don’t make an impact or you don’t make sense, then the crown is useless.
How can the misconceived perception of beauty pageants be changed?
I do not know if I am even in any position to change the mindset of anyone, or to change their perceptions about beauty pageants. One needs to experience it (or at least be willing to understand the whole purpose) to know the impact it has on you as an individual and as a platform for leadership development. What I know for sure is, being Miss Cameroon has had a tremendous influence on me. Aside from having a huge podium to explore the things that matter most to me, I feel as though I am truly living my purpose, something I could not say 2-3 years prior. It’s a fantastic way to become a part of your community and for young girls to harness discipline, confidence, and public speaking/communication skills.
What is your greatest fear?
Unfulfilled potential!!! I want to live out loud, unapologetically, utilizing my full potential in every domain of my life. My middle name (Majenu) translates to “I know something”, and whatever it is I know, I want to share with the world!
Thumbs up Minella..Keep flying the Green Red Yellow flag high..Looking forward to more…