This year we received more than 450 applications for the Africa Foundation CLEF Bursary Fund, from rural youth, eager to realise their dreams of accessing tertiary level education.
After a process of shortlisting the Bursary Fund interviews have commenced, starting in Tanzania.
We would like to introduce you to Magdalena, from Moya Community, near to Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania.
Magdalena is 19 and the second born in a family of six, who all live together. Her father isn’t working, and there is limited money at home. Magdalena had a goal to improve her and her families situation, and make a difference in Tanzania as well.
Last year her mother sold the only piece of land that the family had for growing crops to pay to secure her a place at university. As a result she is currently studying at University of Dodoma, 400km South of Moya, for her certificate in Government Administration.
Magdalena is living in a room within a house in Dodoma. This is cheaper than university residence, but the situation is difficult with the home owner, and Magdalena is looking for a more conducive environment to support her in studying.
She has found work as house maid, which she undertakes after class. This provides some money to support her living costs, however despite all of her hard work and efforts, she was not allowed to write her second semester exams this month because she is still owing the university some fees.
Magdalena knew that they only way to continue her studies was to gather enough funds to return to her home village and attend the CLEF interviews, on 10th September 2019.
This is what she did. And this is what the CLEF Programme Manager, Nonhlanhla, says of her:
“There is something special about this girl, (I know all our students are special), but I had to hold back tears. Simon cried, Juma could not hold himself back. I try and hold all emotions, because we cannot be emotional or seen to be very soft, but she is smiled through all of her story, she is so strong. She said to me; ‘you don’t need the whole world to see your problems. I have a lot of support from the people of my village, they keep telling me that challenges are a part of life, it’s about how you handle them. So this is why I smile even though I have so many things going on in my life. I believe that I will get my degree and then I will be able to share my story’. I have no doubt that we have to help this girl, and she will go on to do great things.”
After the interview, Magdalena invited the team to visit her home, where we also met her sister:
Magdalena is one of many determined, and inspiring, young people that our team will meet over the next few weeks. Young people who are doing all that they possibly can, to make their own way.
With a little help from us, a burden will be relieved so that they can focus on study and realise their dreams.
Sponsoring a student for 1 year is $2,600 / £2,100.
Your contribution of any size will give Magdalena and others like her, the helping hand that will make all the difference.
Bursaries will be announced in December, with the number granted dependent on funds available.