Story by Kenias Chivuzhe
The presidential scholarship programme has transformed lives around the country, with the Odzi community of Manicaland province bearing testimony to the inclusive nature of the empowerment initiative.
The scholarship programme was commissioned to assist talented but disadvantaged students and is creating opportunities for youths from poor backgrounds in line with the national thrust of inclusive development.
This weekend, the Odzi community in Manicaland welcomed four graduates who were at universities in China and Algeria after getting financial assistance under the presidential scholarship programme.
The four who enrolled for undergraduate studies and returned after obtaining masters degrees have high hopes of playing a part in transforming the national economy.
“It has been an honour to rise from this humble and poor background and to be able to sit among the giants. I would like to plough back by working for the government as well as helping to develop my community,” one of the beneficiaries told the ZBC News.
Another noted, “I graduated with a Masters in Corporate Finance. I want to have a positive impact on the country’s financial sector. I have been having a lot of dreams while I was in Algeria to help the economy to get back where it used to be back then.”
Still another added, “I studied international trade and economics at the Ocean University of China. On behalf of all the students who went to China, I would like to thank President Mnangagwa for his assistance.”
Said the fourth, “The Presidential Scholarship Programme is one of the greatest empowerment programmes being spearheaded by government that will transform the national economy in the long run.”
The graduates now carry hopes of not just their families but of accelerated development for the community and the entire nation.
A parent of one of the scholarship recipients said, “We used to here about the scholarship programme but we thought it was for the elite. Despite Odzi being remote, we are excited that our children also benefited from the support initiative.”
Local education and religious leaders described the presidential scholarship programme as a key facet in promoting human capital development.
“I want to thank our government for awarding these children an opportunity to study outside the country despite being from humble backgrounds. We are proud of the these young boys for what they are today after the support,” noted religious leader, Reverend Togara Mapingure.
Mr Charles Muganu, the deputy Provincial Education Director said, “We are happy to recieve these children returning after acquiring high educational qualifications in line the country’s human capital development thrust.”
The scholarship programme which has incorporated students from various parts of the country has also become an effective empowerment tool with beneficiaries getting a chance to further their studies abroad and become experts in various fields.