Same Sky FAWE Scholars Soaring
Posted on 23 May 2016
Mary Uwera has plans to become a doctor. Joyce Mutesi earned a certificate in computer science. Uwase Odilla is looking to study medicine at a top university like Oxford. These are just a few of the young women who—thanks to support from the Same Sky Foundation—are working hard to pursue their dreams at the FAWE Girls’ School in Rwanda.
For years Same Sky has been a proud supporter of FAWE, a lauded institution that empowers underprivileged young women with invaluable training in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—subjects that are crucial if girls in Rwanda want to lift themselves out of poverty and continue to make strides in a country that largely owes its current stability to women’s political and economic participation. Since the school’s founding almost 20 years ago, thousands of FAWE graduates have gone on to attend college, many in the U.S. and Europe, and enjoy successful careers in medicine, business, technology, and beyond.
In 2014, while leading a delegation to Rwanda to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the country’s tragic genocide, Same Sky founder Francine LeFrak visited FAWE and identified girls at risk of dropping out, primarily due to a lack of financial resources. As a result the Same Sky Foundation granted scholarships to 20 students in need, designed to supplement their continued STEM coursework, along with classes in English and entrepreneurship, and participation in extracurricular activities such as arts, mentoring and volunteering.
Progress reports on this first round of Same Sky scholars have been highly encouraging, with both students and teachers reporting impressive gains across the board. Girls who just two years ago were at risk of dropping out are now thriving, and many Same Sky scholars have blossomed into school leaders, continuing to improve their academic performance and involvement outside the classroom as well. Some standout stories include:
- Uwase Odilla, who was the second-best performer at FAWE in national exams—and also among the top performers in the entire country—is now pursuing her goal of studying medicine at a top international university.
- Akimana Mukundwa jumped more than 10 spots to reach number 2 in her class, despite facing personal and family hardships.
Kamariza Violet improved in every subject—from science to English and entrepreneurship—moving from the bottom of her class to the top twenty.
Mary Uwera finished an immersive language training program, and can now communicate easily in English.
- Raissa Nyiransinzi who, after leadership training at FAWE, successfully spearheaded genocide memorial activities in her community.
Challenges, of course, remain, and much work must still be done to ensure that the amazing progress made by women in Rwanda is not stalled. But one thing Same Sky scholars share is a special spark and dedication to learning in the face of adversity, helping them develop the confidence and creativity to access a world rich in opportunity. The Same Sky Foundation is thrilled to be able to help launch these young women on their life journeys, and we want to expand our umbrella to include even more deserving students. Learn more about how you can donate to our FAWE scholars program—your support will have a direct impact on the life of a girl in need, and play an important role in shaping the future of Rwanda!