- Together for Sudan's University Scholarship
After over 20 years of war between the North and the South, promotion
of female leadership through education is critically important to
creation of a culture of peace in Sudan and to the restoration of hope
in a more stable future. University scholarships were
Together for Sudan’s first project and
today are our most expensive work. Since the project began in 1996,
Together for Sudan’s support for women at
university has been a major encouragement to hundreds of marginalized
and impoverished Sudanese women from minority communities.
Aspiring Together for Sudan scholars wait patiently in the
courtyard of our Khartoum office to present their scholarship
Originally reserved for women from the Nuba Mountains,
Together for Sudan scholarships were made
available to non-Nuba Sudanese women in 2002. By late 2006 the project
had produced 90 university graduates. During the 2006-7 academic year
Together for Sudan is sponsoring over 240
scholars, the majority of them at Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman
(which has a five year course of study) but with
Together for Sudan scholars also enrolled in all 12 Khartoum area
The number of women from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds
attending institutions of higher education in Sudan has historically
been very low. The Together for Sudan
scholarship project has not only enabled more marginalized women to
attend university but has motivated many more to try.
Together for Sudan is now receiving at
least 120 applicants each year of whom we are able to accept only about
40. We hope to keep this much needed project growing and have been able,
meanwhile, to raise our scholarship acceptance standards.
At the beginning, knowing the conditions from which applicants come,
we sometimes took scholars with a less than 60 percent grade average.
However, as Together for Sudan has become
more widely known, we have gradually been able to raise our acceptance
standards. In the 2007-8 academic year we hope to accept only applicants
with a grade of 70 or higher, thus insuring fewer failures and more
graduates. A local Sudanese committee makes the selection which is then
approved by Together for Sudan Trustees in
London on the basis of available funding.
Shortly after the inception of the University Scholarships Project,
TFS opened a women’s hostel near Ahfad University to meet the need of
scholars living in squatter settlements. The hostel provides living
circumstances (such as electric lighting) conducive to study and allows
scholars to avoid lengthy and expensive daily travel to and from the
settlements. There are 36 hostel residents this year and we are hoping
to open a second hostel.
Undergraduates at Ahfad University for women in Omduman rest between
classes. Together for Sudan believes that educating women is key to
political stability and peace in Sudan.
In 2002 when our first scholars graduated from Ahfad University,
Together for Sudan set up a Graduates
Association to serve as a contact and networking resource. And in 2003
we began a project to help our university graduates return to the Nuba
Mountains as teachers, NGO workers and government employees. To date
nearly 50 sponsored graduates – as well as many others – have returned.
Observing that many of the students at the Girls Secondary School in
Kadugli (the only female secondary institution in the Nuba Mountains)
were hungry and anaemic, in 2003 Together for
Sudan began providing one meal a day to some 150 girls from rural
areas. Among these young women are the Nuba university graduates,
mothers and leaders of tomorrow.
Together for Sudan is grateful for
support from the British Department for International Development which
allowed us to increase the number of Together for
Sudan university scholars from 100 in 2002 to more than 240 in
2006. We are also grateful to the Gordon College Memorial Trust for
ongoing funding which covers the cost of 15 – 20 scholars each year. The
Mohamed Ibrahim Trust has also pledged to provide sustained funding
beginning in this academic year. However, as local costs continue to
rise and as this project grows (There has not been a year in which we
had fewer scholars than the previous year), we are in constant need of
Following the signing of the North-South Comprehensive Peace
Agreement in 2005 the pace of change in Sudan has increased enormously.
Moreover, the cost of living and all administrative costs have risen
steeply, particularly in Khartoum. Scholarship costs have also gone up
although they remain low by European standards. The typical Ahfad
scholarship now costs £640 per year as opposed to £400 in 2002.
Together for Sudan students that graduated in 2004 express their
joy in their achievements. Several of these young women are the
first University graduates in their families.
What you can do: Donations in any amount are much
appreciated. But please consider whether you are able to change a young
woman’s life – and contribute to peace in Sudan – by sponsoring her for
one year or for her entire four or five year university course.
Contact us now :-