The scholarship program for economically disadvantaged students to complete high school, vocational training, or university is crucial. It helps our students to break free from challenging circumstances. Education becomes accessible, empowering students to create brighter futures and make meaningful contributions to society.
The program also includes several livelihood scholarships that ensure immediate financial support, enabling students to pursue education while meeting their basic needs. Otherwise, those students would be forced to live on the streets where their parents usually reside. Or, they would have to leave the city to go back to their villages and leave their education incomplete.
In essence, this scholarship program is a transformative force that not only offers tangible opportunities but also nurtures the aspirations and dreams of deserving individuals, paving the way for a more equitable and prosperous society. And let's be real: If we don't help those students, nobody else will - or can.
Apart from paying for all school-related expenses for 40 students, we also offer and/ or pay tuition for those that need it. However, with financial help alone, our scholarship holders would still have the odds stacked up high against them. Especially once they are above Elementary, they have no support system at home because the parents' schooling was to short to be able to help them out with homework or structuring their learning. In addition, parents - if available - are out of the house most of the day in order to work.
Knowing this, we have knitted a web of support to help our students dealing with their mental health issues and learning-related questions. Our coordinator tracks their performance and attendance at school in regular intervals and follows up with phone calls if anything seems amiss. We also organize group activities to foster a sense of community and friendship (see below).
In order to instill a feeling of accountability and social responsibility, we do not punish or shame students if they receive bad grades. Instead, we focus on giving back: Each scholarship holder has to sign up to volunteer two hours per week for a social cause. Some students run our Early Reading Program for street children, some take kids for outings or help them with their homework. We also try to arrange for regular workshops on emotional skill development to increase resilience and psychological well-being.
Yes, meeting up and celebrating together is fun. However, it is also crucial for our emotional well-being. We are social beings, and to ignore that and only focus on studying and providing financial stability to the children would ignore that fact. Hence, we provide opportunities to mingle, talk, listen to music, have fun, and relax. This is what we did for fun 2022/2023: