My name is Andrea Mama Paygar- Flangiah, and I am the daughter of Andrew and Wilhelmina Paygar- Flangiah. I was born in Monrovia Liberia, and came to the United States when I was exactly 23 months old. My twin sister, Jemima, and I fit somewhere in the middle of the six Paygar-Flangiah children. Living in the U.S, our parents never let me and my siblings forget that we are Liberian kids. I am currently a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities majoring in Youth Studies. I hope to get my Masters in Educational Policy/ Administration and help reshape education at a national level. I also want to build schools across the world that are accessible and free.
The Kofa Foundation, the non-profit organization that hosts the the annual Miss Liberia Minnesota Scholarship Pageant gives me a platform to work with youths in our immigrant community. We do a lot of work with young girls and empowerment. Youth need to feel empowered and have mentors in their lives that resemble them. As a young black/ African woman, it is imperative that I stand as an example to the young women coming after me. As a young black girl there weren’t a lot of women besides my family that I could look up to until I reached high school, but the truth is I needed more women in my life that looked like me and could mentor me at a younger age. This is why roles such as ones associated with the Kofa Foundation are so important. Our Emerging Leaders Youth Leadership Program connects young girls of African descent with mentors in the community. We are committed to doing our part in strengthening our community by helping to provide our girls with the tools they need to empower and elevate themselves.
My name is Andrea it means courageous and brave; my name is Mama it means mother like. My names are a reflection of the paths I am called to follow. No matter how many detours I might take I will always get back on track.