Nine students from Kenya are among 100 talented learners from disadvantaged backgrounds in Africa picked for the inaugural Nelson Mandela Centennial Scholarship.
The students were selected from a total of 756 applicants who applied for the scholarships. They are Leah Ngari, Gloria Wafula, Joy Wamunyu, Diana Imali, Sharleen Nyakundi, Stacy Kioko, Caroline Kuria, Eric Wamugu and Daisy Mukasa.
The announcement of the bursaries was one of the highlights of the centenary celebrations of Mandela’s birthday in South Africa, which was also graced by former US President Barack Obama.
Admitted scholars will study at the African Leadership University (ALU) in Kigali, Rwanda (pictured), where they are set to benefit from a full scholarship and opportunities for leadership development. Each Scholar will receive an $8,000 (Sh800,000) grant annually, to cover tuition, airfare and living expenses for the duration of their degree programme.
Commenting on the scholarships, Fred Swaniker, the founder of the ALU Rwanda branch said the college provides a great setting to inspire a young mind, as it is located in one of the countries in Africa that is a great example of leadership and economic development in Africa. “It truly showcases an Africa that works,” he said.
“Our mission at ALU is to develop and groom the next generation of ethical African leaders. Mandela’s Centennial birthday therefore presented a meaningful way to demonstrate our values as a university that emphasizes leadership development, by awarding 100 scholarships in the name of Nelson Mandela, to young talented Africans from across the continent,” he said.
The scholarship is a partnership between the Graça Machel Trust (GMT) and the Nelson Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS), and ALU. Graca Machel, who is the Alu chancellor and chair of GMT, said Alu is a groundbreaking pan-African institution that combines knowledge, skills, leadership and workplace experience.
President Mandela, the first Black South African President, firmly believed in the transformative power of education and its ability to bring dignity, self-actualisation and prosperity to Africans.
Throughout his presidency and thereafter, he dedicated time and effort to ensuring that children from all walks of life had equal access to education, regardless of their economic background.