A total of 484 girls from vulnerable families have been given a chance to undertake university studies through scholarship programme by MasterCard Foundation and the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Rwanda Chapter.
Some 204 among the recipients have been admitted to study in the Musanze-based Ruhengeri Institute of Applied Sciences (INES), while 280 others were sent to University of Rwanda.
Speaking at the awarding ceremony that took place at INES Ruhengeri premises on the weekend, the head of FAWE Rwanda, Dr Kathy Kantengwa, stressed that the scholarship programme seeks to empower bright girls from disadvantaged households.
She said that the beneficiaries of the scholarships will have to study science related subjects to defy the odds from past misconception on a girl’s abilities in life as well as in the country’s development.
“Historically in our country, girls were not guaranteed equal opportunities as their brothers and it even became worse when it came to studying science subjects, people couldn’t, for instance, believe that a girl can become a doctor or a pilot,” he said.
She said that the major aim of her organisation is to demystify that misconception and strive to ensure they open for girls all possible doors so that they can showcase their abilities and play their rightful role in nation building.
The scholarship programme covers tuition, accommodation and subsistence allowances.
Girls selected to benefit from the programme welcomed the development stressing that they have been greatly encouraged to prepare a future of their own and be in a better position to work towards the country’s development.
“I was worried of my future since my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my university education. This, therefore, is a golden opportunity for me and it will obviously shape a better future for me,” said Mariam Umutesi, Level 1 student at INES Ruhengeri.
For the past two decades, FAWE Rwanda has offered several scholarships to deserving students have since benefited more than 20,000 students, both girls and boys according to officials.