Congratulations to our 2017 WAAW Scholars. Four recipients were selected from 4 African countries. Read their inspiring stories below.
Betty James Ropani (South Sudan)
My name is Betty James Ropani, the third born of my mother. I am from the central equatorial state South Sudan. I came to Uganda in 2001 as refugee and from then has been studying here till date. I started my education in Koboko district in Northern Uganda and I was later transferred to Kampala City where I emerged the best in Primary Leaving Examinations 2006 at school called Red Stars Primary School. Continued to secondary school level at Kibuli Secondary School (one of the government secondary schools in Kampala) and then completed my secondary education in 2012. I have wanted to become an architect since high school but being a refugee limits my ability to access educational scholarships in Uganda and South Sudan.
Due to the instability of our country, my mother could not be able to raise all the tuition for the five years in Architecture school so that is why I try to look for work and search for scholarships that will help me pay for my education, unsuccessfully. I tutor other students at the university but I find this is becoming difficult to maintain as I need more time for schoolwork. Architecture is an expensive courses with numerous demands for materials to achieve the design studio tasks and other assignments but I have managed to struggle through until today. I am currently fourth year student of the bachelor of Architecture program at International University of East Africa in Kampala, Uganda. Besides studying, I volunteer in teaching children at barracks that is near my university, I make fruit juice and sell it to earn my upkeep and accommodation fee. I knit African bags and sell African fabric to meet my different needs as a girl, I teach Sunday school kids at my local church every Sunday and do some social or community works for the community at the end of every semester.
I am a social person with melancholic traits such as analytical, persistent, self-sacrificing, considerate, respectful, sensitive, orderly, detailed, loyal, behaved, thoughtful, idealistic, scheduled faithful and cultured
Phanta Sackor (Liberia)
During my early childhood, I enjoyed the hospitality of my parents. However this was short lived when I lost my father at an early age, during the Liberian civil war, leaving my mother in long years of depression. My mother is a peasant petty trader who struggles to keep us meeting our daily needs.
To continue my junior high education was a challenge for my mother, who could barely raise an income to up keep us. Mater became worse when fire begot our dwelling and burnt all of her business goods. She then moved back to her home town, Gbarnga to resettle. In Gbarnga, my aunty and her husband took charge of my education and enrolled me at the Konola Academy Mission, in Margibi County, where I continue my junior high education.
My guardians could not continue to cover my education cost, so my mother and I moved to another county, Grand Gedeh and resided in Zwedru where I enrolled at the Bishop Juwle Catholic School, Where I remain until I graduated from high school in 2016. My school days at Bishop Juwel high school was challenging as my mother had to sell daily to pay for my school requirements.
Upon graduation from high school, I moved to Monrovia to seek admission to University, and I was admitted at the Stella Maris Polytechnic College.
Years in High school was better because, I came home daily to see my mother at home unlike enrolling at college and living alone. My mother became more depressed in trying to raise my school fees, and had no time to think of books and other stationaries which are also basic needs for a college student.
At Stella Maris, I heard about the WAAW foundation through a friend, and I apply for the scholarship. The WAAW funds will be a great help to me in paying for my tuition, books etc. The scholarship will release me off the stress I have gone through worrying about my school cost and stay at the college. The WAAW funds will help me achieve my career goal, because I will remain in school to complete my studies as an “ENVIRONMENTALIST” to help contribute to the development of my country and Africa.
Stella Murugi (Kenya)
My name is Stella Murugi Muthungu, I am a girl aged 22. A Civil and Structural Engineering student at the University of Eldoret. I also have a passion for girls’ empowerment because where I come from girls are less advantaged than the boys. I chose to do an Engineering course because of my love for Math and Science subjects since I was little. When I was joining the University people would ask me if I was sure I would make it because of the fact that I am a girl, but I believed in myself. My ultimate goal is to do Masters in Environmental Engineering preferably in a developed country and work in my home country- Kenya
The biggest challenge that I have always faced is payment of my school fees. I come from a humble background of a single mum. After my dad passed away few years ago, it has been a struggle for my mum to raise my school fees and making both ends meet for my siblings. It had reached to a point that I had planned to call of my fifth year. This is the sole reason that I applied for the WAAW Foundation scholarship. I am thrilled to be one of the scholarship recipients.
The Scholarship will help me achieve my educational goals. It will cater for my school fees. It will also finance my final year project, which is a vital part of my course. Thank you WAAW foundation for your generosity. On behalf of all other girls out there, thank you for believing that we too, can tackle STEM courses. You are doing an amazing job.
Winifred Odunoku (Nigeria)
I’m Winifred Odunoku, a 300 level Microbiology student of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria. I am 20 years old , goal-oriented and have a zeal to lead while others follow. My femininity is, of course, my greatest asset.
It happened that not quite long after we (my twin brother and I ) were born, my dad lost his job and the hopes of getting another went bleak. Consequent upon this loss, the family upkeep and welfare rested solely on my Mom’s shoulders . For as long as I can remember, my mom has been paying our school fees and meeting the basic needs of a family of 8. In 2014, my twin brother, elder sister and myself gained admission into 3 different state institutions and this further compounded the financial stress. My mom had to take on loans to pay our admission acceptance fees, tuition fees and all, to ensure we didn’t lose the admission altogether . I wouldn’t like to start studies for a degree and not earn it at the long run and I needed to act fast. This prompted me to start looking out for undergraduate scholarships via the net and my search so far has really paid off.
I got the WAAW foundation scholarship award on the 24th of December, 2016 and it did make my yuletide fabulous. I knew about this scholarship from one of the scholarship sites I’m subscribed to and thereafter determined to be a beneficiary someday. Consequently, I applied in 2015 and reapplied last year again just to ensure my goal is reached. I’m so happy to have achieved my aim this time around.
As a WAAW foundation scholar, I’d stop at nothing to impact lives, contribute to my country’s national progress, and also tell people about WAAW & make this opportunity more real to them. I’m gonna use this award to pay my subsequent fees, buy a mini laptop for my project and also improve my study by getting necessary stationery and reading materials.
I really want to use this medium to show appreciation, express my excitement towards your benevolence and also to pledge allegiance & commitment to the WAAW foundation. Many thanks all the way.