A second chance for school drop-outs

Idess Bonzo is a teen mother who could not get back to school due to financial challenges.

But thanks to Maphunziro265 Scholarships, she is now back in school.

Another beneficiary, Frank Kamwendo was on the edge of dropping out of Zingwangwa Secondary School because of monetary challenges.

With the assistance of Maphunziro265 scholarships, he is back in school.

Tendai Katsonga, Maphunziro265 co-founder says the scholarships and bursaries are rescuing many from dropping out.

She said Maphunziro265 has 30 scholarships targeting both male and female students in Malawi.

“We are getting requests to setup scholarships almost on a daily basis. We thank all those who are coming through. Recently, we worked with Lily Banda who has launched a scholarship targeting residents of Njiwa in Lilongwe. Eleven people, mostly mothers are now back to both primary and secondary schools,” she said.

Maphunziro265 has also been conducting career trainings dubbed Standout Talks.

Through the talks, university students and fresh graduates are trained on how to develop personal statements, cover letters, Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) and how to handle various forms of interviews. “In short we touch on personal branding,” said Katsonga.

Standout talks have benefitted people such as Victoria Chindamba, a 31-year-old who had challenges developing a personal statement for a scholarship and university application.

Now Victoria has developed successful personal statements that have seen her secure four university admissions in the United Kingdom.

According to Katsonga, since February 2017, over 1 000 people have improved their application documents and have developed the confidence to apply for jobs, schools and scholarships.

She observes that Malawians are generous in one way or another, with most of them supporting the education of their relations or paying school fees to help someone they do not know.

“If people get an education, they in turn support the education of others within their families, cutting the cycle of poverty in the process.

“Maphunziro265 recognises the existence of such a support system and we have just tapped into an already existing system to allow people go beyond friends and families,” she explained.

However, the organisation bemoans the small number of scholarships for tertiary students.

“Not many people can afford to part with K200 000, for instance, to support the tertiary education of our youth. I, therefore, would like to urge companies and organisations to consider setting up scholarships for the youth in tertiary education institutions.

“I would appeal to those who have already done this to make the information about the scholarships available so that many youths are aware of such opportunities. With that, I believe we will rid the heartbreaking stories of young brilliant minds who cannot go to college because they come from poor families,” she said.

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