Muzabel Welongo received the first JC:HEM alumni scholarship to finish his studies at Catholic University of Eastern Africa (Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins)
Kakuma, 14 April 2015 – Soon after the Jesuit Commons:Higher Education at the Margins graduation celebrations subsided in Kakuma and Dzaleka refugee camps, the graduates began actively applying at various universities with a passionate desire to continue their education.

Students began fervently looking for a means to sustain their education, when JC:HEM received a generous donation from an anonymous donor that will offer several scholarships to students in the JC:HEM Diploma programme. 

"This scholarship comes at an opportune time, when our graduates are looking for ways to further their education. Many of them are passionate about this and have been applying for colleges, so this scholarship is significant," stated Karen Cordova the JC:HEM Alumni Coordinator.

The scholarship programme is supported through donations. Cordova cautioned there are many other students in need of financial assistance.

"These are students in refugee camps who do not have the financial means to further their education without a scholarship. And this is easily doable, because the cost of attending a school in Africa is a fraction of the cost for a US education. So for minimum input, students in these remote refugee camps can get a university education that will change their lives forever. With education brings hope and these students, all of them, continue to talk about their need to give back to their community. I have no doubt they will be the leaders of their communities and of Africa and this is when you see maximum output from even a modest scholarship. If you want to see change, watch these students create dynamic positive change in their communities. They have the passion so all they need is some assistance to get there." 

Students in the JC:HEM programme received their diploma after working on online courses at the Arrupe Learning Centres at each camp which provides them with a Diploma in Liberal Arts. Those in the programme were chosen out of hundreds of applicants.

"There are literally thousands of people in this camp. It is because of JC:HEM that even the grade school children now have a goal to further their education. Before JC:HEM, many in this community finished had never seen a university. This is a significant paradigm shift in a community that for years never had opportunities to stimulate their intellectual capabilities. One student talked about higher education as 'feeding her soul'. I can't image living to exist, to take each day with little rations, waiting around for someone else to make a difference for you. Having a university for people living at the margins creates an impact that will be seen for years to come."

As a recent graduate of the JC:HEM Diploma programme and recipient of the first alumni scholarship, Muzabel Welongo agrees, "If JC:HEM could not exist in this camp it would create a very big gap. I have seen change in the three years JC:HEM has been in the camp. It's only three years and if you walk away, in each community you would find that people have been trained by the different programs offered by JC:HEM , either by diploma or certificates. And at least 80% are influencing change in the society with the skills they are getting from JC:HEM. So how can you influence change if you don't have the educational opportunities?"

Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins partners with the Jesuit Refugee Service to offer higher education to refugees in Kenya, Jordan and Malawi. You can support alumni of the JC:HEM programme to finish their higher education here.
Countries Related to this Region
Kenya

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