PIC: MasterCard Foundation beneficiaries in a group photo after the award ceremony at Makerere University on September 02, 2016. Photos/ Godfrey Kimono
A total of 200 economically disadvantaged students will benefit from the scholarships this academic year under the Makerere University MasterCard Foundation Scholars programme.
Officiating at the scholarship awarding ceremony over the weekend, the university vice chancellor prof. Ddumba Ssentamu urged the beneficiaries to focus on their studies and to understand their role.
"You need to understand the reason for you to be at the University. Do not to be consumed by the social networks. Spend at least 30 minutes per day on Facebook and use the rest of the day shaping your future by hitting the books," he said.
He added that it doesn't matter where one comes from but the important issue is the destination.
"You should always believe that you can make it. I was born in the rural part of the country, and we used to plough fields but today I am the head of this big institution because I kept hope alive," Ssentamu said.
In 2013, the MasterCard Foundation entered a contract with the university to educate a total of 1,000 students across Africa for a period of 10years.
The contract is worth $20.9m (sh76b), with MasterCard Foundation sponsoring 1,000 undergraduate students from disadvantaged families.
Dr. Florence Nakayiwa, the coordinator of Makerere University MasterCard Foundation Scholars programme said the scholarship will cater for basic needs, including scholastic materials, housing, meals and accommodation during the scholar's study period.
"The project is also aligned to the visions and missions of the two organisations categorised under academics with the aim of transforming African leaders to address societal needs," she said.
The academic registrar, Alfred Masikye Namoah urged the beneficiaries not to take the opportunity for granted, but rather work hard and excel in order to transform their lives.
"You are being nurtured to be the leaders of tomorrow who will have the skills and ability to transform society," he said.
Robinah Ayikuru, one of the beneficiaries, said she was born out of wedlock and her mother died when she was only seven.
"I was raised by my grandfather in absolute poverty with no hope of ever going to school. It still surprises me that I am now at university."
In her telecast message, the MasterCard Foundation president Reeta Roy said, "We were inspired by a pool of focused and engaged students, many of whom were the first generation in their families to attend college."