Sonna Etienne Foundation

His Family

The Sonna Etienne Foundation (SEF) exist today from the dedication of his family who all plays various roles to see through that the legacy of their father, grand father and husband is immortalized

Dongmo Sonna, Martine 

Martine was born in the year 1953. She completed her high school certificate before pursuing a vocation training to become a social worker at the national school of educator and social assistance (ENEAS) in Yaounde, Cameroon. She will go on to exercise in that capacity of Social Worker Educator until her official retirement at the age of 55 years. Married to Etienne Sonna in 1973, they made their little way before death tore them apart at the prime of his life leaving her to raise their seven children. Remembering her husband, she said: “He was human, yes very human as he carried at heart the wellbeing of everyone around him. Moreover, he was futuristic and visionary, therefore very poorly understood by those around him. He did not know discouragement until he achieved the intended goal. With all these qualities and being fanatic of reading, he saw how we (as a community) could make a way for self through personal effort and commitment, hence his vision on education, empowerment and community development by the community itself; in summary the transformation of his environment through community efforts. Great was my joy to see his children awaken these memories by creating the foundation that bears his name. Deceased at the prime of his life, he had just started his legacy. Today I applaud this initiative, purposed to rehabilitate his dream, and carry on his legacy. Just as an artist never dies, the projected work of this foundation will make him alive in our hearts as people continue to benefit from the vision he carried dear in his heart”.

Sonna Tsane, Chamberline Marlyse (Mrs. Serapion) 

Chamberline Marlyse is the 1st child of SONNA ETIENNE, born in 1974. Academically, she is bilingual and enjoys the languages she continues to learn. She started her education in Cameroon till completing her high school, then studied an engineering degree in Food Technology in South Africa. Later, she will relocate to France where she completed few vocational trainings crowned with diplomas (Business, Management, Quality audit, CCP administrative and Receptionist). These trainings will land her a job as an office assistant where she is a known to wear many hats as she is always willing to adapt to get things done. Spirituality is a great part of her life and she is presently established as a Prophetess of the Lord. In addition, she is the founder of an international ONG called “ONG Aide Humanitaire Peniel”, which aims to empower people while helping the needy and promoting their integration into society. She is a member of the Sonna Etienne Foundation with which she works in partnership. In her own words: “I belief to have inherit from my dad, his human concern and passion for social work. I am very human and like to help people without borders both in education and in health because it pleases me to see others happy. My dad was a very human person, very truthful but fought by many because of his bold vision that was often not within reach of the regular person still struggling for their basic needs. For the interest of the community, he never held any idea back as he felt strong about the community development by the community and the power of information to succeed together. He had a heart in his hand because during his lifetime we even slept with strangers because my dad helped people without even knowing their family. My dad was an optimistic person who was aiming far and wanted to carry others along with him. Great is my joy to continue the works that my dad left behind through the Sonna Etienne foundation with which I work in partnership. A visionary never dies, and a legend remains a legend… A little anecdote: my dad loved history so much that he predicted the future. I always say he was a prophet because he predicted many things that came true after his death. I have a lot to say about him but will stop here for now”.

Nguimzong Sonna, Annie B (Mrs. Oriero) 

Annie is the 2nd born of SONNA ETIENNE. She was raised mostly in Cameroon until completing her high school diploma; then moved to South Africa to further her studies. Her plan for life was somehow mapped out by her father, but not matched up with any financial backup. Though my father died when I just got my high school certificate, I knew well to pursue the dream he had for me in faith. This is why even arriving in the USA, almost 20 years ago, I did tremble at the opportunity to complete a fulltime international MBA while working full time and single raising a child then. And believe it or not, everything he wished in my life came to pass. And I have many saving hands to thank for, which only reinforce in me the desire to give back.

Today, I am a Senior Technical Program Manager and Engineer in a well-respected company, with over 20 years of professional career under my belt. I’ve had the privilege to study in prestigious universities (University of Johannesburg, Thunderbird School of international Management) and also work for fortune 100 companies (Microsoft, Nike, Intel, Nike, Honeywell,…). All the things my father visualized long before it happened, and many tried to kill it in me with the death of my father. But his positivity was so engrained in me that even obstacle never shakes my determination in most circumstances.

About Sonna Etienne Foundation, it has always been a pregnancy I carried from the day my dad left this world. I knew it had to be done and it was just the matter of when. As shared in our story page, it has been a journey to get here and yet, a new journey has just started to carry this newborn child into successful maturity. And we need you to get onboard!

Sonna Nanfack, Guy Martial

I was born in Yaoundé on October 3rd, 1977 as the third child of Mr. Sonna Etienne and his lovely wife Mrs. Dongmo Martine EPSE Sonna. After completing my education up to high school in Yaoundé, I moved to South Africa in 1994 to further my education. I completed an associate degree at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, then started a career in Food and beverage industry, in one of the premier fine dining establishment “Gatrille” in Sandton, Johannesburg. I was instrumental in opening one of the premium dining club in Africa “Club Kilimanjaro” as their operation manager in 2002. A couple of years later in 2004, an opportunity opened itself for me to relocate in the USA. I completed my bachelor degree in Economics at Arizona States University in 2007 while still working in F&B for multiple high end resort in the phoenix area such as the Hilton and Starwood group. After graduation, I experience the financial industry under Vanguard Mutual fund company as a broker before ultimately moving on in supply chain where I continue to grow my career. I worked for 3PL’s company such as Geodis, Macys and successfully move up in leadership role to a Director of Inventory control and quality assurance in a 1.3M sqf Ecom facility for MACYS Inc. / Bloomingdales. One of my found memories of My father Mr. Sonna Etienne who we lost in October 1994 was is passion for education and deep empathy and support for the less fortunate .One of his favorite quotation was “Your education is the only thing that no one could ever take away from you no matter how difficult your situation is” .I think and truly believe that the best way for us to honor our late father is to honor some of his core values through this foundation; as I know that to be share by all Sonna Etienne’s children as well as our Mother who worked tirelessly to help all of us achieve in our own path. On a personal level, my involvement is not only to continue our father’s legacy but to work on something that I truly believe in; which is education and support for the less fortunate. I know from my own experience that without my education and kindness of people that I met along the way, I will not be the person that I am today. It is an honor and privilege that I found myself involve in this cause and I do not take it lightly and am committed to work tirelessly to meet the mission statement of this foundation.

Sonna Dzoffack, Christiane Corinne 

Christiane Corinne studied in Yaounde where she was crown with a BAC A4 Spanish. She went on to complete a BTS in culinary school to be a chef. While the demand in her city was not high enough to accommodate her, her resilience got her back to complete an education training called CAPIEMP; opening the opportunity for her to teach primary school students.  She has been teaching in a private school in Cameroon for the last 10 years. In her spare time, she read to maintain her love for foreign languages such as Spanish and English. Her father died when she was still a teenager. From what she remembers, she shared in her own words: “My father was a big-hearted man, who cared for the wellbeing of his neighbors. Something I did not comprehend then as a child. And it wasn’t till I grew up that I realized it. He had initiated many projects in his community, some of which were the need of the future, yet he saw it then. The community went on to complete some and there are still unfinished ones today; 26 years after his death. And that’s what made me realize that he was a visionary man at work for community development to improve the conditions of those around him. This initiative of the Sonna Etienne Foundation is close to my heart because it will allow us, who lost him early, to relive through the materialization of his wishes what we were not able to share with him then, and thereby immortalize his presence among us. I thank the initiator of this project while promising to invest myself and give the best of me for the total success of the initiative”.

Sonna Zeudong, Willy Stephane 

Stephane is the second son and fifth child of ETIENNE SONNA, and now a civil engineer based in Montreal, Canada. Very early on, his dad instilled in him good values such as hard work, the love for a job well done as well as the love for his neighbor; all of which gave rise to the humanitarian character in him. He is committed to supporting the Foundation, in order to allow the realization of his father’s legacy; primarily by ensuring that long time projects still unfinished like “the water supply project from a water tower to the village where it was born” is completed. His support will range from financial, physical or material donations by investing in fundraising and speaking at events on behalf of the foundation to raise public awareness of our fundamental mission around education, community empowerment, disaster relief, and many others … Stéphane is one of the most devoted ambassadors of the SEF (Sonna Etienne Foundation), and a major asset in the various missions that the foundation has set. He is the foundation representation in Canada. His slogan is: “Give beyond the heart”!

Sonna Atsafack, Paulette Stella (Mrs Sofack Kago) 

Paulette Stella is the 6th child of the late Étienne SONNA. She was born in Yaoundé Cameroon in 1984, relocated to France in 2007 to pursue a second Master in Computer Systems and Network Engineering; right after earning her first master in Informatique in Cameroon. Her professional career will start in 2010 as Software engineer consultant in one of the most notable IT services companies in Europe. As a consultant, she worked with various companies across diverse industries (energy, banks, insurance, …) and acquired multiple IT certifications (Test Manager, Product Owner, …). Stella attributes all her achievements to the value her father instilled in them: the ability to surpass oneself that she came to learn through her elder siblings. Today, she is a successful Independent Engineer Lead Consultant for the largest French companies since 2018. She is happily married and now living in the Paris suburbs. In her own words, stella said about her father: “My father left us when I was only 9.5 years old. A precious memory that I remember from him is a time I was about 7 years old, he came back from work, relaxing on the couch in meditation (probably lost in his thoughts), I looked at him through the little door opening, wondering what he was thinking about. He saw me, invited me to join him then we hug for a long time. I can’t say when it ended, but this memory is the most present one, despite all these years, that I can associate with him: a man full of love. Been too young when he died, I learnt more about him through all the people who were close to him, whom he helped, supported and pushed to surpass themself each time, especially in academia.  Everything I heard about him, pushed me to always work hard so that he could be proud of the woman I became. Today I am happy and excited  to be part of this venture aiming to carry on all the works and initiatives he started and to share the vision he had about education and local communities nearly 30 years ago. Projects we’ve already realized were a real success and it made me feel the joy of keeping his memory alive and sharing the person he was to many generations through his vision toward education and community development.  I made the success of this foundation one of my objectives for life in order to maintain this memory and to transform the lives of many children and local communities in Africa as he would have done if he had that opportunity. Your lineage lives on and honors you…

Sonna Nguefack, Ferry Pavel 

Born in the city of seven hills, Ferry Pavel did his primary studies at Bambis, followed with middle school at François Xavier Vogt College and will end at the bilingual High School of Dschang with the obtention of a baccalaureate A4 in 2011. The same year, his will pass the entry exam to ENS (Ecole Normale Superieure) in Yaoundé for education in History and Geography to become a high school teacher. He completed his education in 2015 and was assigned to “Lycée de Baloumgou” where he still staged today. He fills the pride to be the only one of Etienne SONNA’s child to have fully taken his footsteps professionally. Here is what he had to say: “I would like to point out that I really did not know my father who left me a toddler, but the memories I have of him are engraved in me mostly from the testimonies received from those who knew him. They have painted to me a person in the service of society and I am anxious to bring this character back to life in our lives. Speaking of my commitment to the success of the foundation, I join this worthy cause hoping that it will see its climax in the days, months and future years. Long live daddy SONNA ETIENNE and long live his works. Man dies but his work in us remains…

Ngatchou Sonna, Niemel Shaun

The Youngest Board Member, Niemel is our Marketing Director as well as Vice-President of Operations. Niemel Sonna is the direct Namesake of this Foundation. Having been Named after the inspiration behind this initiative, Niemel has been one of the driving forces in pushing this dream into reality. Often referred to by his nickname Tre, Niemel is an 18-Year-Old Real Estate Practitioner who resides in Seattle, Washington. He graduated in 2020 from Woodinville High School & Dove into his gap year headfirst. He began experimenting with different skills,  taking coding courses, training for real estate licensing, & helping create & bring to life a full-fledged non-profit organization, all in just a few months after Graduating High School.  Still, Niemel plans to head back to college next year while remaining fully dedicated and engage with the affairs of the foundation. Having hear so many great things about his grand father (whom he is name after), Niemel looks to spend his young adult life improving to become a man his grand father will be proud of. His feels the responsibility of helping carry this legacy by doing all he can to slowly change various communities for the better, and one step at a time; leaving his own mark in this world in the best way he can.

His adopted children


In addition to giving birth to 7 children, SONNA ETIENNE’S home was always welcoming to new children in pursue of their better future. Here are a few of those that sticked around long enough to mark us as brothers or sisters:

– Nkeudjou Jean
– Temgoua Fidele
– Temfack Richard
– Feu Nguedia Matthias
– Ngueteu Maurice
– Tsane Paul
– Tsague Pierre Marie
– Nguetsap Roger
– Jeazet Hermine
– Sonna Tiomo Henriette