University is one of the most crucial steps for students to become qualified for future employment and/or to gain a knowledge base to start grass root business or outreach services for their communities. It is a great achievement.
Hope of Africa spends much time advising and assisting students with university application fees, or living expenses required to get started in order to be able to attend university. We also have set up computer labs and tutoring classes that assist students with more difficult subjects. Computer literacy is essential for university, and oftentimes students we work with have no access to learn how to use one. Unlike the United States, it is rare in Africa for university students to find work while attending university. But, with quite minimal assistance, there are many students that could actually pull themselves and their families out of poverty by earning a university education.
Where we work in, Mpumalanga, South Africa, about 1.5% of students will actually be able to attain a bachelor’s degree (http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report-03-01-81/Report-03-01-812011.pdf). This is not necessarily because students did not get good enough grades. Often times, it is lacking the extra finances it takes to attend university, responsibilities at home, accommodation issues, or inability to travel to school.
In Uganda, only about 19.2 % of population of school aged students will attend post secondary tertiary training. (https://www.ubos.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/03_2018Education_Monograph_Report_Final_08-12-2017.pdf). Oftentimes, even with a tertiary degree, graduates struggle to get employment. Thus, Hope of Africa partners seek to ensure students have a life skills training in entrepreneurship, agricultural principles, and skills of interest. In Uganda, we are committed to helping students find internships and do our best to offer opportunities to serve in business initiatives and projects that assist them financially with school expenses.
HOW ARE STUDENTS SELECTED?
In both Uganda and South Africa, we work with students by providing computer labs, tutoring, or opportunities for leadership development while students are in secondary (high school) or in their gap year (between high school and tertiary training). In both Uganda and South Africa it costs between $600 to $1,000 total to prepare a student in the transition from secondary (high school) education to university. In both countries we have done gap year programs that are 4 months to a one year commitment where students do a mixture of classroom and practical outreach and internships. Then students are assisted with individual packages based on their eligibility for university, opportunities in business, or other talents and interests.
Hope of Africa partners with several other organizations and village leaders to select students that have shown initiative and served within their communities. An application process is in place and recommendations are given through respected leaders in their communities. Need is assessed based on family situation and financial status. Applications are reviewed, and then top students are selected for interviews with a panel of local and international representatives. Students selected are fully invested in to see that they are given opportunities to succeed with their future goals and dreams.
In South Africa, although education is more expensive, most orphans and vulnerable students are eligible to receive financial aid from the government that will cover tuition, room & board for a 4-year degree if they have the grades. In Uganda, university education is cheaper, but each students has to provider their own housing and essentials for training. Hope of Africa seeks to give each youth given this chance will have such an amazing opportunity to affect the future of so many others. We are committed to do our utmost to select those youth that have not only shown effort and motivation to attend university, but that have specific goals of what they will do with their education to assist the lives of others upon employment.