When small results in BIG

September 22, 2014

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Maria Ndagire is 17 years old. Her parents died when she was only four years old. “My uncle had to take care of us after our parents died, but it was not easy. He already had his own children to care for and did not earn that much money.” Ndagire almost gave up on life when the only brother she had, left home one day never to return again. She was able to go to school, only because the head teacher there was her aunt. But her losses did not make her lose focus.

Maria Ndagire, one of the beneficiaries of BRAC Uganda-Mastercard Foundation scholarship

Maria Ndagire, one of the clients of BRAC Uganda-Mastercard Foundation scholarship

Maria Ndagire is 17 years old. Her parents died when she was only four years old. “My uncle had to take care of us after our parents died, but it was not easy. He already had his own children to care for and did not earn that much money.” Ndagire almost gave up on life when the only brother she had, left home one day never to return again. She was able to go to school, only because the head teacher there was her aunt. But her losses did not make her lose focus. When she received her primary leaving examination (PLE) results, she had excelled beyond expectation. “I want to be a doctor and help people in the way my mother never got helped,” says Ndagire.

Ndagire is one of the clients of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at BRAC. Through this initiative, Uganda’s talented yet economically marginalised youth, like Ndagire, have access to quality secondary education. The program is funded by MasterCard Foundation and implemented by BRAC Uganda.

This year, the first ever MasterCard Foundation Leadership Congress was held from 3-5 September, bringing together 600 scholarship recipients from across Uganda. The aim was to help students explore and interact with professionals from various fields. This congress will also help the students select universities that they hope to attend after completing their secondary education. MasterCard Foundation’s partnering universities from Canada, USA, Ghana, South Africa, Costa Rica, Makerere University in Uganda and BRAC University in Bangladesh were present. This provided the students with a platform to speak to recruiters and learn more about opportunities at these schools.

Delegates and BRAC officials at the Leadership Congress 2014

Delegates and BRAC officials at the Leadership Congress 2014

Rehana Amin Murshed, the head of BRAC International’s education and empowerment programmes spoke to the students. “You deserve to succeed and inspire,” she said. “Beware, there is a harsh world out there waiting and there are several challenges when you leave here. You will be returning to the real world, people may discourage you, want to use you, your peers might not be happy, but you should remain courageous.”

It is frequently reiterated that education is a key tool in empowering individuals to rise out of poverty. By providing the youth with opportunities such as these, no matter how small or big, BRAC together with its partners helps bring lasting change in communities. “Now with all my educational costs met, I want to reach the highest level of education,” Ndagire said. “In the next few years, I want to get a PhD in medicine.”

Beneficiaries of BRAC Uganda-MasterCard Foundation scholarship

Clients of BRAC Uganda-MasterCard Foundation scholarship

 

Syeda Samara Mortada is senior lead of communications at BRAC International.

 

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