Paying It Forward – How Mastercard Foundation Scholars Are Improving Access to Education
September 8th is set aside worldwide to celebrate International Literacy Day. A key focus of our work at the Mastercard Foundation is to improve access to quality education through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. On this special day, we want to highlight five Mastercard Foundation Scholars and the incredible work of impact they are doing to improve education and literacy especially in this COVID-19 period.
Ebenezer Addo Tenkorang & Lawrence Adjei – Adesua Online – Ashesi University
Ebenezer and Lawrence graduated in 2017 from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Ashesi University. The duo teamed up to build an online learning platform for high school students in Ghana with content specially curated towards exam preparation. As a way of supporting senior high school students affected during the COVID-19 induced temporal closure of schools, Adesua Online made provision for 100,000 high school and West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) remedial students to study for free on the e-learning platform.
Kate Wodenya Amenyikor – The Mobile Library Project – CAMFED Ghana
Kate is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at CAMFED Ghana, attending the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). In her quest to improve literacy in the Central Region of Ghana, Kate Wodenya Ameyikor started the Mobile Library Project. Through regular reading clinics, book donations, and literacy competitions in rural areas, Kate hopes to improve literacy in children and prepare them for the future. With an eye for inclusive education, Kate and her project team visit orphanages and special schools to donate books and run literacy (reading and writing) clinics as well. Currently, Kate and her team envision a world where every child has access to quality education (SDG Goal 4) thus they are also working on establishing a scholarship program for children. Since their founding in 2019, with the help of volunteers and other stakeholders, The Mobile Library Project has been able to impact the lives of over 600 children in 5 communities in the Central Region of Ghana.
Eslam Abo Al Hawa, Nour El Bidewe & Zeinab Al Mohamad & Mahmoud Kanso -EduPass – American University of Beirut
All four of these Scholars were among the top students in their classes in Syria and had high hopes for the future, like any other children would have, until war broke out in 2012. This forced the quartet to migrate to Lebanon as refugees. Adapting to the new situation in their host villages in Lebanon created a gap in their education, and though they were enrolled in school after nine months of transition, they did not find it easy to learn in English, as Arabic had been their language of instruction back in Syria. Years later, as an answer to a problem that they have been a victim of, the quartet developed EduPass (Education is my Passport) mobile application; a free-of-charge service to help Syrian children in Lebanon who have dropped out of school due to an inability to pay school fees and the language barrier. Currently there are over 300 students who use EduPass to learn and gain knowledge.
Myres Ndyabawe & Narinda Shirah – Rabbits for Education – Makerere University
Through the Rabbits for Education Project, Myres Ndyabawe and Narinda Shirah have created a unique model of educational financing in Uganda. The project provides participants with rabbits and equips the students with the skills they need to raise and care for them. The initiative then helps participants find a market, so they can generate income to support their education and help reduce the drop-out rates in government-aided schools in Kamwenge District in Uganda.
As schools are on lockdown as a result of the COVID-19, the rearing of rabbits has kept pupils busy and engaged. Households and families are also are being insulated from the economic effects of COVID-19 as they have an extra source of income from the sale of rabbits. There has been a 20% increase in the number of households that are receiving training in rabbit rearing in the Kamwenge District.
Painos Chitanga – High School Tutorial Initiative – University of Pretoria
Painos Chitanga, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Pretoria (UP) works in conjunction with fellow Scholars at UP to provide academic support through the High School Tutorial Iniatitive. They provide mentorship, one-on-one tutoring, and tutorials for disadvantaged high school students. This initiative aims to increase the chances of students obtaining university admission at the top tertiary institutions in South Africa and beyond, by improving their academic marks. To date, there are nearly 40 students on the High School Tutorial Initiative and though it has been challenging with COVID-19, with the use of technology (WhatsApp & Zoom) they have been able to continually teach the high school students. Painos, the pioneer of this initiative, stated, ”After the preliminary exam in July, 2020, most of our students appreciated the help they received from us and want us to continue until they write their final examination. Our team is dedicated to supporting these students.”