In 2001 after ranking 2nd in the National Exam in Tourism and top of her school Barakatou Kone was selected by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP) in conjunction with the Women World Banking (WWB) for a Leadership Program in New York. After she completed the program she returned to Senegal, West Africa with the drive to create a community center to help women who wanted to become business owner. At age 22, Barakatou wanted to realize another dream of her which was to complete a post graduate education in the U.S.A and against her father’s wish she packed her suitcase and landed in Oklahoma City to make her dream come true.
12 years later, after an Undergraduate degree in Economics, a Master Degree in Managerial Economics, A license in Business Education for the state of Oklahoma, and working in Corporate America she wanted to share her passion for education and her life experience to help others that were facing challenges to make their dream of a better education come true.
When she heard of The Kikulu foundation in 2013 she thought of it as a platform to give to children from Africa the same opportunity that was given to her over a decade ago; without the vehicle of a foundation she would not have been able to get an education in the United States.
Although Barakatou strongly believes that her own education has not been completed yet she enjoys raising her 5 year old boy and exposing him to different cultures, dancing to Latin American music, and being in a kitchen which she finds the art of cooking therapeutic. Today she is thankful to be part of a foundation that as cares deeply about education as she does.