Over 200 needy students awarded university scholarships

Wednesday, 30 August 2017
Betty Amamukirori

55 students from financially challenged background have won scholarships from the MasterCard Foundation

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After failing to hold back tears, she let them flow freely. Hers is a testament of resilience through hardship, shouldering on through thick and thin to gain an education.

Born in Mityana district to an impoverished family and later on raised by a single mother when her father died while she was still a child, Maldrine Kimenye’s dreams of furthering her education was clouded with uncertainty.

“My mother was just a house wife, so I had to struggle through school. My lack came through my participation in sporting activities. A good Samaritan noticed me and supported my secondary education,” she said amidst sobs, with tears flowing down her cheeks.

She stated that through the same friends she learnt about the scholarship awards by MasterCard Foundation offered to bright but financially incapacitated students who would want to further their education.

Not sure of the outcomes, she secretly pursued the process, fainted once but never gave up until she won.

“When I received a phone call from MasterCard, I jumped for joy, shouting ‘I have won, I have won a scholarship. Mother who was close by could not understand what I was talking about. For until that point I was too scared to tell her about my pursuits,” she reminisced loudly as her voice shot across the fully packed Faculty of Technology auditorium where the awards ceremony was taking place.

Kimenye, is among the 255 students from financially challenged background who have won scholarships from the MasterCard Foundation to pursue various disciplines at the country’s oldest University, Makerere. She is going to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social sciences.

akerere niversity publicist itah amisango comforts one of the students who broke down as she gave her testimony hoto by odfrey imonoMakerere University publicist Ritah Namisango comforts one of the students who broke down as she gave her testimony. Photo by Godfrey Kimono

The 255 join the continuing 244 scholars at the University who are currently in their second, third and fourth year of study. This is the fourth cohort of scholars under the program.

Each of the students had tear jerking stories but Dr. Florence Nakayiwa, the project coordinator Makerere MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program (MakMCFSP), said that these are only a few they were able to take up.

“We received a total of 4035 applications but were only able to take on 255. This is evidence of the demand that needs to be met by this opportunity and any other that is available,” she said.

She said that the vigorous and meticulous selection process has been on since January this year and they were able to admit 132 Ugandans, 26 students from Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and South Sudan, while the remaining 98 are those who were transiting from the BRAC secondary school partner in Uganda. Of the 255, only 27 are male.

“The scholars here are chosen on merit, highlighting not only their academic potential but also the economic challenges that may hinder their pursuit of higher education,” Nakayiwa said.

Associate Professor Aaron Mushengyezi, who was the chairperson of the selection committee, noted that during the process of sifting the application, they discovered that some applicants had falsified information and even directed them to places that were not their homes.

“Make the most of this opportunity. Do not betray your guardians and single parents who raised you through struggle,” he told the winners.

Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University also revealed how he almost lost his job at the helm of the University because of the program and urged the students to be hopeful and have the determination that one day they will hold big influential positions in the country.

akerere niversity vice chancellor rof dumba sentamu  hands over award letters to some of the 256 students hoto by odfrey imonoMakerere University vice chancellor Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu (L) hands over award letters to some of the 256 students. Photo by Godfrey Kimono

“Makerere University is a breeding ground for students who are aspiring to be leaders. now that you are here, be hopeful that one day you will hold a leadership position,” he said

About the program

MasterCard Foundation is an independent global foundation which advances youth education in developing countries.  Since its inception in 2006, it has partnered with several developing countries. Its headquarters is in Canada.

In 2013, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Makerere University to offer scholarships to 1,000 academically bright but economically disadvantaged youth from Africa to study at Makerere University from 2013 to 2023.The is a project worth US $ 20.9m (about sh75.6b).

The scholarship offers a comprehensive student support, which includes Laptop, books and other learning materials, Accommodation, beddings and meals, Medical insurance, Stipend, Transport to and from home, psychosocial and mentorship support and capacity building training in leadership, Communication, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Gender and Human Rights.