Twenty five (25) Sierra Leoneans university students and twenty-two (22) Secondary School pupils have benefited from Chinese Ambassador Scholarship grants.
The 25 university students were drawn from Fourah Bay College, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) Njala University, Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) and the University of Makeni (UNIMAK).
They were accorded Outstanding Academic Achievement Awards and Promising Youth Awards respectively.
Twenty junior secondary pupils and 2 other individuals were also provided with Friendship Grants.
Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Hu Zhangliang stated that two weeks ago, the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone held a grand reception in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, and that friends of all walks of life from -both China and Sierra Leone celebrated the event in a solemn and warm atmosphere.
"Today, we are holding the Awarding Ceremony of the 2019 Chinese Ambassador Scholarships and the Embassy Open House Day, with a view to further promoting China-Sierra Leone friendship and friendly cooperation and deepening our mutual understanding. Our Embassy also puts on display the International Photo Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China to showcase China's development in the past 7 decades," he said.
He said this year marked the 48th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone, noting that over the past 48 years, the two countries have achieved fruitful cooperation results in various fields, among which education is an important component.
He said the Government and people of Sierra Leone have always attached great importance to education, which the current government takes as one of its top priorities of its New Direction Agenda for national development.
He further stated that China has consistently supported Sierra Leone in its educational development and human capacity building within her ability, noting that China has been trying her best to contribute to the "Free Quality Education" flagship program proposed by President Julius Maada Bio.
Ambassador Hu Zhangliang added that in August the Embassy bade farewell to nearly 120 Sierra Leonean students, who were enrolled by the Chinese universities under the Chinese Government Scholarships Programme.
He said since 2015, the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone has established the Chinese Ambassador Scholarships to encourage students with outstanding academic performance.
He disclosed that since 2015 to date, a total number of 73 students have benefited from the Chinese Ambassador Scholarships, adding that he will also provide grants to 20 economically less privileged students from Fourah Bay College Junior Secondary School and 2 other students.
He said one of the beneficiaries, David Lavalie is a secondary school pupil from Sussex in Freetown, who loves to learn, but was forced to drop out of school and found an informal job in quarrying industry because his family could not afford school uniforms, tuition and other miscellaneous fees.
He said he met David Lavalie during an inspection tour to River No. 2, and that the child told him about his situation, and he decided to help him.
He said another young man, Foday Komba was eager to go to college and has taken twice West African Senior School Certificate Examination twice and, he is expected to be admitted by a university this year.
He said in order to raise his tuition fees, Foday found a job in a Chinese construction company that is implementing a project for the Chinese Embassy, and according to the company, he takes his job seriously and works very hard.
The Ambassador said he had never met Foday before, but heard about him through the manager of the Chinese company and I really appreciate the spirit in him, the spirit of being self-reliant and always aiming high.
"I know that in Freetown and in Sierra Leone, there may be many other kids like David and Foday, who need a helping hand and deserve due encouragement. As the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, though it's hardly possible for me to help each and every one, I would like to do as much as possible within my capacity," he said.
In his remarks, Minister of Technical and Higher Education Professor Sahr Gbakima, thanked the Chinese Ambassador for his contribution in promoting education in Sierra Leone, adding that the country has benefited a lot from the China-Sierra Leone ties.
He encouraged recipients to make good use of the support and be focused, determined, disciplined and hard working in their study.