On 1 September 2022 the Mastercard Foundation graduating Scholars at the University of Gondar organized an event to express their appreciation and devotion to the Program which changed their life. Seven Scholars who will be graduating this upcoming Saturday have shown their heartfelt gratitude for the years they have spent at the University of Gondar as a Scholar and the amazing things that the Foundation has done for them. Those who were present included President of the University of Gondar, Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, Vice President of Administration Mr. Lijalem Gashaw, Director of the Scholars Program at UoG, Dr. Molalign Belay and the graduating Scholars.
Talented youth with disabilities and disadvantages are choosing the University of Gondar as their top destination because of its attention to inclusiveness. The Scholars Program has now received hundreds of Scholars who are studying in many disciplines and many continue to graduate and are transitioning into the work force and are serving their communities with their newfound knowledge.
Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn the President of the University had some departing words for the graduating Scholars who were on their way to start their new journey out into the real world. The President alluded to their educational careers and how a lot more is expected from them to do much more for people who are less fortunate. “The Scholars Program at the University of Gondar is our unique brand and shows us every single day that we must strive for better inclusion and disability awareness for our talented youth with disabilities and disadvantages across the country” expressed Dr. Asrat.
What makes this year different is Scholars have taken the liberty to thank the Funding organization which gave them this immense opportunity. Graduating Scholar Gebrikidan Shebabaw, who is one of the graduates, couldn’t put into words how much the Program meant to him. “I really appreciate what the Scholars Program has done for me, and cannot express my deep love of the Mastercard Foundation, but I would even go as far as tattooing the name on me forever because of the impact it has had on my life,” shared Gebrekidan. He also shared, moving forward, the Program should be an example for future institutions and Universities across the country.
Graduating Law student Sinidu Alefew also shared her extreme delight at her time at the University of Gondar as a Scholar and expressed that such appreciation events should be a new tradition for future Scholars and other students of the University moving forward. “I think it is a good custom to say thank you because Program’s like the Scholars Program have transformed our lives and we have gained so much because of it” stressed Sinidu. This Program has given an opportunity to many marginalized people and has allowed them to have a lifechanging vision in changing the world. On his part, Habtamu Debalkay, who is also graduating with his law degree, has envisioned a prosperous future for the Scholars Program at the University of Gondar in the coming years. “Our vision for the Scholars Program at the University of Gondar is not only to see it to run its 10-year span, but we want to see it institutionalized and run for an extra 10 years so that more and more people can take advantage of its once in a lifetime Scholarship and wrap-around support” shared Habtamu.
The Scholars Program at the University of Gondar is a 10-year partnership and collaboration between the University of Gondar, the Mastercard Foundation and Queens University Canada. These larger than life institutions have pledged to advance inclusive higher education for young people with disabilities, develop a new occupational therapy program and advance research for inclusive education and community-based rehabilitation in Africa. So far, the Program is coming on its sixth year and is charting a new path in inclusivity in the country’s over 3000-year history.