A Dream Come True for Our Grace Scholars

by Anita Brown, Program Officer

The Grace Scholarship Program is the result of a partnership between PVF and a donor to provide the critical gap funding necessary for bright, low-income Zimbabwean students who are a part of the US Achievers Program (USAP) to study at US and European universities. We recently approved scholarships for twelve Grace Scholars. Below are excerpts from the personal statements of our four newest Grace Scholars, starting their college careers this fall.

Afonso Fernando
Kalamazoo College, Class of 2022
Major: Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management

“Both my mother and father are subsistence farmers, and neither of them is formally employed due to poor educational background. I am a refugee, living in the Mayukwayukwa camp situated in Zambia. I dream of becoming an agriculturalist and improving my leadership skills. I want to promote harmless farming techniques in agriculture that can sustain us to the future. These techniques may include crop rotation, green manuring, organic farming, or simply conservation farming. At Kalamazoo, I plan to study Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, so that I can continue with my aim to save the environment. None of my brothers or sisters have reached grade 8 due to financial problems. Neither of my parents has any formal schooling due to instability and constant movement. My father was taken from his village and trained to be a soldier before escaping. But one generation later, I have the opportunity to attend university. I always believe that success can only be achieved through hope, respect, love, hard work, prayer and determination.” –Afonso Fernando

Trish Gatsi
Kalamazoo College, Class of 2022
Major: Biology/Pre-Medicine

“I am hoping to become a medical doctor and later specialise in cardiology. I also want to join ‘volunteer kzoo,’ a group whose main aim is helping those in need in the community; I want to be part of the public speaking and debate society and the Model United Nations; and I want to venture into photography so as to capture the unquantifiable moments in life. There are a lot of clubs, organisations and societies at Kalamazoo, and I really want to explore them and find some new interests. Getting a place at Kalamazoo College is something I could have never conjured up even in my wildest dreams. I still cannot believe that this is a reality, my reality; however, without assistance to cover the gap in my financial aid, this would remain just a dream.” –Trish Gatsi

Musawenkosi Ndlovu
Warren Wilson College, Class of 2022
Major: Biology

“I was born in Bulawayo in the southern area of Zimbabwe, but at the age of three I moved to the rural areas of Ntabazinduna in Matabeleland North Province. We worked the land we lived on. It demanded tilling, planting, fertilizing, and harvesting. Farming is almost an austere life, with lots of hard work and little compensation, but it is also fulfilling to literally see the fruits of your labor.We raise mainly green vegetables to sell on a small commercial level to surrounding schools and communities, and, when there is excess, to sell in Bulawayo. Warren Wilson College coincides with my upbringing and personal values. The institution emphasizes taking responsibility through environmental sustainability, thereby addressing the world’s pressing issues of climate change and environmental pollution. The college community promotes a system which creates learning opportunities through curriculum, research, and co-curricular activities. This is clear as students engage in farming activities at the college farm, which supplies an impressive amount of fresh food for the college. Moreover, Warren Wilson also emphasizes giving back to the community. I believe it is the rightful place where I will thrive and learn skills to help me contribute to my rural home community in Zimbabwe.” –Musa Ndlovu

Sinqobile Tagwireyi
College of Wooster, Class of 2022
Major: Political Science

“My desire is to major in political science for undergraduate level then go to law school and then work with the NGO branches here in Africa (specifically Zimbabwe). I believe it is not only the pursuit of education that will take my nation and Africa into the new age, but it is a generation of minds that are able to tackle situations critically, minds that are passionate, innovative, and driven. When I graduate from Wooster, I will be equipped to tackle the issues we are faced with here at home as I pursue this ultimate goal—to be of value. Being able to attend the College of Wooster will truly be a dream come true for me. I am confident that a liberal arts education at Wooster will allow me to explore my areas of passion and learn so much more that will allow me to come back home to Zimbabwe and contribute meaningfully to the process of development of our country on all levels—economically, politically, socially, and even technologically.” –Singqobile Tagwireyi

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