Sunday, 2 October 2016

Our Scholarship Fund

The aim of the Arise project is to give children in Kaniki and the surrounding areas opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. For the majority of children and young people supported by Arise, this means paying their school fees and ensuring that they have the practical and spiritual support which they and their guardians need. The main focus of Arise so far has been on supporting the children to reach Grade 12 (the final year of secondary school), with only a few of them having the opportunity for further study. However, we now have a growing number of young people who have successfully completed Grade 12 and who are really keen to attend college. They have aspirations to become nurses, teachers or mechanics. High aspirations are not common among school children here, so we really want to encourage and support these individuals. We have noticed that without college, many girls return to help out in their family home when they have completed Grade 12, and many boys are faced with a future of finding piece work (occasional manual labour) in order to survive.

Arise students with high aspirations

We have seen a few examples where Arise has been able to support individuals to attend college over the past few years. Unfortunately, the cost of college fees is significantly higher here than school fees and therefore it has not been possible for the project to support many students in the past. Sadly, the cost of college fees is far too high for the people we support to be able to pay the funds themselves, despite working hard to get the grades required for college. To put this in context, on average it costs the equivalent of £1000 per year for a two or three year course here in Zambia. The most common type of employment for our Arise guardians is piece work, which is typically paid about £1.50 per day. College fees are a struggle for most people living in Kaniki and the surrounding areas, and a virtual impossibility for our Arise guardians who are among the most vulnerable.

Me with one of the college students that Arise currently supports

We hope that increasing the number of opportunities we provide for our young people to attend college will mean that they have greater potential in securing skilled employment, and therefore providing for their own families and future. This fits with our focus on empowerment which is at the heart of the vision for Arise. I thought I would share the stories of two students who we would like to be able to support to attend college.

Albert* lives in Kaniki Extension and has been supported by Arise throughout school. His guardian works selling tomatoes by the roadside and his younger brother attends Kapumpe School. Albert has proved that he can study hard and speaks a good standard of English, even though many children of his age in the community do not. He completed Grade 12 at the end of 2015 and since then has started a small business making and selling bricks to help provide for his family and to try and save some money for college. It has been a pleasure for us to see his entrepreneurship and commitment to his future. He would love to one day train to be a secondary school teacher.

Matthew* lives in Kamalasha which is near Kaniki. I first met him early last year when I went to visit some families in the local community. Sadly his family were gathering for a funeral because his brother had died of TB. His brother was just 21 years old and was Matthew’s only sibling. Matthew has been supported by Arise throughout school and also completed Grade 12 at the end of 2015. His ambition is to become a clinical officer (a licensed practitioner of medicine in Africa) so that he can help people who are sick like his brother was.

Arise secondary school students studying for exams with one of our Zambian volunteers

The need here is huge and as an Arise team we are confronted on a daily basis with situations that we would like to support but don’t always have the resources and capacity to be able to. In response to the situations that Albert and Matthew are in, and many other young people like them, we are setting up a Scholarship Fund to enable more young people supported by Arise to attend college. We have put together a process so that once students have completed Grade 12, they will be eligible to apply for an Arise Scholarship. They will be expected to complete an application form with details of what and where they wish to study, attend an Arise panel interview to discuss their suitability and commitment, and contribute a portion of the fees which is determined by their personal circumstances.

Meeting with Arise secondary school students

All money donated to the fund will go towards paying tuition fees, accommodation, food, transport and books or equipment for the young people we sponsor through college. We know that the benefits of a college education extend not only to the young person but also to their family, friends and wider community. To find out more, please read the poster below:
We would be extremely grateful to anyone who is able to make a donation towards the Scholarship Fund, or who can pray for our team and potential students as we start up this scheme. Thank you for your interest and support! 

*Names have been changed for privacy.

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