Three Liberian students have been flown to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to pursue undergraduate studies in the fields of engineering at the prestigious National University of Malaysia by the Sime Darby Foundation.
The foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the Sime Darby Group plans to award scholarships annually to Liberians.
The students were taken to Malaysia on February 13, 2013 in fulfillment of Sime Darby's commitment after it launched a stunning USD 420,000 scholarship package for 20 deserving Liberian students last November.
Student Shari L.O. Raji, 17 years who is the only female was proud to leave Liberia for studies in the field of mechanical engineering to Malaysia. Joel Nelson Atiah 18 and Johnson Emmanuel Sieh 18 both of Stella Maris Polytechnic will study Mechanical and Civil Engineering. Each of the Sime Darby Scholars will be away for four years.
The scholarship program in Liberia is part of Sime Darby's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in countries where it operates.
The full scholarship program covers tuition fees, living expenses and books. The three scholars will each have a laptop and allowances as part of their incentives for studying in Malaysia.
The three students who are proud beneficiaries of the Sime Darby's scholarship to Malaysia were among a total of 54 candidates who applied. Following a rigorous selection process which included psychometric tests and leadership competency assessments, only 29 candidates were shortlisted for the final interview.
Shari, Joel and Johnson were very grateful upon their departure to study abroad.
"My deepest gratitude and appreciation goes to Sime Darby for affording me this opportunity to study outside Liberia. As a woman, I know it is very rare to choose a field of study like mechanical engineering, but I am glad I did so. As a little girl, I had always wanted to discover and to know how things are made." Shari said smiling.
Joel Nelson Atiah, aged 18, who was a freshman student studying civil engineering at the Stella Maris Polytechnic, said as an orphan, words were just inadequate to express. He said he was grateful for gesture by Sime Darby. Joel promises to be a bright student away from home. He accumulated an average of 3.5 GPA at Stella Maris during his last semester there.
Remarked Joel: "I am proud of myself. Yes we were many who sat the testing and interviews. I would like to say a special thanks to Sime Darby for having this kind of plan for young people. I believe the rebuilding process of Liberia would require people with special skills such as the one that I am going for."
For Johnson, leaving Liberia for studies was not the only thing that made him happy. He said being part of the best three was his greatest dream. He said at school he had always opted for the top.
"We are the ambassadors for this scholarship programme. We are the first set of Liberians that are leaving Liberia to study outside Liberia. I think we should take our studies very seriously and deport ourselves very well. Whatever we do out there represents Liberia." Johnson said in a passionate tone.
Johnson said he represents a big family. Most of his family members are not very schooled; therefore he sees his travel to Malaysia as a student as well as someone who will give hope to his siblings.