25 April 2013

Uganda: Faweu Helps Bright ICT Girls

As the days went by, it became clear that Anita Senjala would not join university. She performed well and nearly qualified for government scholarship. But there was one problem: "There was no money to pay for my tuition."

Then one day, she got the good news; that her tuition fees would be paid and some of her other needs while at university would be taken care of. The year was 2012 and Anita was joining Makerere University.

Today, the petite lady looks back with pride at the prospect of a great future that has been handed to her, first through her own effort as a good student and through the support of generous people.

Senjala comes from a home of modest means. "My father did not have a job for many years, having lost it more than five years ago. My mum's contract also ended many years back," she says.

Senjala had to depend on support from the Forum for African Women Educationalists in Uganda (FAWEU), which sponsors the education of bright girls from struggling families. "They sponsored my education right from lower secondary school up to A' level." After completing her A' level, she thought her education dreams were over.

But her prayers were answered when she was selected to benefit from a scholarship fund in which MTN Foundation, in partnership with FAWEU, provide funding for girls wishing to pursue university courses in ICT.

"I received a call to tell me that I had been selected to be one of the first beneficiaries of this scholarship scheme," she recalls joyfully.

Today, Senjala is a proud first-year student studying a bachelor of science degree in software engineering at Makerere University.

Just like Senjala, Sandra Mukoda is another bright young lady from a humble family. "My father is a farmer and my mum operates a retail shop in Kamuli," she says.

The first born in a family of six children struggled through her primary and secondary education. "I was sent home many times for lack of school fees," she says. That, however, did not deter her from working hard and later earning herself a place at Makerere University and an MTN/FAWEU scholarship. "I was pleased when I was told that my school fees would be covered," she says.

Now in her first year, Mukoda promises to work hard and pass. She will use her skills to establish employment in ICT for young people in her home area of Kamuli district.

The scholarship has been established to sponsor young, talented girls undertaking ICT courses, but may not be able to meet their university fees. Each of the two girls receives sh7.5m, every year to cover tuition, accommodation and basic needs. Coming at a time when girl-child education continues to struggle, this initiative will go a long way to help boost the mothers of the nation in key areas like ICT.

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