Recently, four of our scholars graduated (Sarah, Ndera, Sophia, Hellen – Girl Power!) and exited the Scholarship Program.
They are now officially part of our alumni, joining 38 others who are serving as role models and advocates to other scholars of the potent power of investing in quality education as one of the pathways to empowered and sustainable development. The atmosphere on that graduation and Scholarship Program exit celebration lunch was punctuated by a sense of accomplishment and pride for both the outgoing scholars now newly incoming alumni and TFFT staff, not forgetting the colorful “hot pink” decorated cake (as I came to learn), bearing all of their names and announcing: It’s time to celebrate! To show how we take this milestone achievement for our scholars, every team member participated in making this day memorable.
I am always awe inspired when I sit back and listen to scholars narrate their journey, express their hopes and aspirations, including showing gratitude for the unwavering support The Foundation For Tomorrow through its staff, boundary partners, and sponsors provide as scholars discover their potentials and start to apply them as knowledge, skills, strengths and experiences to make a difference in their personal lives and community. Words of wisdom were shared around the table and I vividly recall Sophia remarking that this achievement represents “…a journey to becoming our empowered selves, making lifelong learning decisions to improve with each passing day”. This is already showing, as Sophia and Hellen, who finished their certificate course in Procurement and Supply, are already employed at a popularly frequented restaurant. They are hoping to use the gap year to save funds to finish their Diploma studies. That is what I call taking initiative and taking the future into your own hands and not allowing your circumstances to stand in the way of you furthering your studies.
I applaud the efforts of our hardworking staff who also tirelessly invest in heart to heart conversations with our scholars to remind them that no matter where they come from, and no matter the circumstances in their life and what has happened to them, they are capable, appreciated and loved. We work to serve their best interests.
On the day of graduation, Ndera thanked Haruni and Robin for not giving up on her even when she wanted to give up on herself when her academic results were not pleasing and below par. She said, “Your drive to encourage me, your sit down sessions with me before each new school term to help me focus, and the learning support you provided pushed me to invest more in what I was able to do and do more of it. I am grateful for the life lessons which I cherish every day”. Graduates Sarah and Ndera were doing Advance Level Studies, both studying Chemistry, Biology and Geography. Sarah wants to become a veterinary doctor and Ndera wants to become a Chemical Engineer.
I listened intently as all four graduates defined academic success as: the accomplishment of the learning process; gaining subject knowledge; and developing employability skills. It is undoubtedly true that academic achievement is regarded as an indicator of the success of individuals, schools, universities and nations. This type of success is typically measured using performance indicators such as test results, completion rates and other objective measures. TFFT’s scholarship program is designed to create a more engaged, career minded, and employable individual. This is what success means to us. TFFT endeavors to foster in all its scholars behaviors and attributes like:
All students need to be motivated and stay motivated. In a world of instant gratification and a stream of distractions to manage throughout the day, self motivation is something that many young people struggle with. Many young people, just like adults, struggle to maintain their motivation. We encourage young people to be intrinsically motivated and we equip our scholars with the tools that they need to stay motivated through the year.
“Everybody needs somebody”. For young people, that somebody could be a friend, a teacher, a parent, a coach or a mentor. Someone that believes in you and helps you stay focused and motivated throughout the year. TFFT creates a support network for our scholars and we encourage young people to build a support network outside of the Scholarship Program so that they are always aware of who to turn to when they are in need of help. Our Alumni Program is also built on supporting alumni to be a resource to each other.
Most young people have high aspirations but lack the support and strategies they need to achieve their aspirations. It can be a huge challenge when you are self-motivated and you have support from your parents and teachers, but lack the strategies you need to achieve your goals.
TFFT’s Scholarship and Alumni Program was created so that we can help young people realize their strengths and feel motivated to achieve their ambitions. We create a support system for scholars to feel confident about their abilities, and every year we help our scholars set goals and devise strategies so that they can turn their aspirations into reality.
While academic success is perceived by academic institutions as both a process, personal development with an end goal academic qualification, TFFT takes this further by ensuring our scholars develop employability skills. This has also been perceived by our scholars and alumni as important as gaining knowledge for academic success. For TFFT scholars, success consists not only of good grades and steady progress towards graduation, but a holistic sense of fulfillment. Our scholars want to become strong candidates for careers in their chosen fields, emerge as competent and trustworthy adults, and look back at their time without regrets but opportunities to learn more about themselves and how they can make a positive difference in the environment and community around them. Our scholars also want to make their mentors, family members and sponsors proud. Beyond well paying jobs, TFFT scholars seek purpose by serving others as well.
We are proud of the most recent graduates, and look forward to the futures they are carving for themselves.