May 18, 2024
News

How Madhvani Foundation Funded Over 2,000 Ugandan Students

Some beneficiaries of Muljibhai Madhvani Foundation scholarship with board members

A CHANCE TO THRIVE

With the ever toughening economic situation, it gets harder for parents and students to study without any hiccups. However, the Muljibhai Madhvani Foundation scholarship Trust brings hope to the less privileged

By George Bita

Although Dr Simon Peter Angeki made it to university in 2016, the going was not smooth, until he ‘struck gold’ with Muljibhai Madhvani Foundation Scholarship Trust.

Angeki, currently the head of livestock section at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, says the sponsorship helped him complete his five-year course with ease.

“It was in 2018 when I was going to my third year at Makerere University when the Madhvani Foundation advertised their scholarship for university students in Uganda,” he recounts.

He recalls some students claiming that the scholarships were for those who are connected or those who know people working with the Madhvani Group.

“I just could not subscribe to that kind of talk or belief. So, I duly applied and left the rest to God. We were short-listed, called for interviews and the rest is history,” Angeki says.

He testifies that he not only won the scholarship, but went ahead to be selected as a representative of Madhvani-sponsored students to the alumni association.

“In my capacity, I would co-ordinate to ensure cheques reach finance departments of universities early enough. The other task was to relay the results from respective faculties to the foundation on time,” he says.

Proscovia Kisakye, another beneficiary, recalls how she was finding difficulty with tuition fees during her second year at Kyambogo University in 2018.

“I was pursuing a course in science technology, majoring in chemistry,” Kisakye says.

She says when the advert came up, she applied and that was how Madhvani Foundation paid for the remaining two years of her course.

“I am presently in charge of quality assurance at CIPLA Pharmaceuticals Industry in Kampala. My journey may not have been the same had I not 22 NVWednesday, May 3, 2022 NEW VISION MWALIMU been helped,” Kisakye says.

The duo represent over 2,350 students whose learning the foundation has facilitated to a tune of sh7.9b since inception.

GENESIS

Beatrice Apoto, the Madhvani Foundation administrator, says Muljibhai Madhvani Foundation Scholarship Trust came into existence in 2003 as a charitable trust.

The arrangement pays tuition fees for students studying science and technical disciplines, including agriculture, biology, chemistry, actuarial science, architecture, veterinary medicine, commerce, hotel management and pharmacy.

Others include nursing, engineering, food science and technology, information technology, environmental studies and human medicine.

“The idea is to support underprivileged, yet brilliant university students in Uganda. One of the foundation’s primary objective is to maintain and promote scientific and technical education among Ugandans,” she says.

COVID-19 CRISIS

Apoto discloses that due to the COVID-19 pandemic that worsened existing inequalities for students, the foundation boosted the fund by sh50m.

“The foundation added sh50m on the sh700m used in previous years. This was to ensure continuity in education for the students who, while being gifted technically, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she says.

Kisakye explains that as a student on Madhvani sponsorship, she was not able to complete her course on schedule due to COVID-19.

“I was due to write my final exams when the nationwide schools lockdown came into force. So, you can see how the pandemic really delayed some of us from completing in time,” Kisakye says.

Angeki notes that even the alumni activities have been affected by the pandemic since gatherings had been prohibited to curb the spread of the virus.

“In fact, in 2020 and 2021, the foundation never advertised for scholarship seekers. Everything was at a standstill,” he says.

SPONSORSHIP RESUMES

On April 25, the foundation announced a scholarship fund worth sh750m to support needy Ugandan university students in the 2022 intake.

Gerald Sendawula, the chairperson of the Muljibhai Foundation board, explains that the programme will offer students a sense of hope, belonging and anticipation to help them flourish.

“This is an opportunity to change the learning landscape for needy students. The future for these students has been hampered by the ongoing economic shocks,” Sendawula says. Apoto clarifies that only undergraduate and postgraduate students are eligible for the scholarship.

“The undergraduates should have completed their first year of studies at any Ugandan university. Postgraduate applicants should have either been admitted or registered for graduate programmes,” Apoto adds.

Jessica Alupo, the Vice-President, lauds Madhvani Foundation for the great contribution to Uganda’s economy by developing relevant human resource capacity.

“As government, we appreciate two things — one is the support of the Ugandan science student, who cannot afford tuition fees, yet competent. Secondly, a fair distribution of the funds nationwide focusing on local universities, which enhances home grown resource,” Alupo adds

SCHOLARSHIP SUSTAINABILITY

Angeki says as an alumnus, they indulge in joint contributions to make sure the coffers of the foundation are ever-full, to help out another lot of students in need.

“We also get back to the community to share with them and do communal work. Our task is to encourage others to apply and study on sponsorship,” he says.

He says during communal interactions, they have an opportunity to narrate their experiences so that others may borrow a leaf and jump onto the bandwagon.

Apoto explains that the scholarship is extended as a grant payable directly to the university or institution on behalf of the beneficiaries.

“Renewal of funding is subject to receiving satisfactory progress reports from the beneficiaries’ faculty or institute. If the student has a retake in more than one subject, it means automatic withdrawal of the scholarship,” she says.

According to her, once they complete their studies, it is expected that the awardees of the foundation scholarship donate voluntarily to ensure more scholars benefit others in future.

CALL FOR BENEFICIARIES

According to Beatrice Apoto, the Madhvani Foundation Administrator, the foundation has not stopped at the over 2,350 beneficiaries boasting of sponsorship so far. “We are seeking for more students to join the foundation beneficiaries. Currently, the scholarship programme is looking for Ugandans who qualify for this arrangement,” Apoto says. She says the application forms for this year’s scholarship can be downloaded from www. madhvanifoundation. com and filled out before delivery to the foundation offices in Kampala. “Only those who are eligible and would have submitted their completed forms by May 31 are to be considered,” Apoto adds.

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