By Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
The first batch of the 200 orphans and vulnerable children from cutting across the 17 LGAs of Plateau State have departed from Jos the state capital to Republic of Benin to commence their study in Ecole Superieure Sainte Felicite University, Cotonou.
The students who were given scholarship by a charity organization based in Jos, Zazzaga Foundation, were selected after applying for the scholarship through an online platform.
Dr. Saleh Abduallahi, who is the founder of the organization told journalists before the departure of the students that, they would be studying different degree programmes in Ecole Superieure Sainte Felicite University and that they have already been offered the admission.
He said 10 orphans were selected from each of the 17 Local Government Areas in the state, while the remaining 30 vulnerable children were randomly selected across the state bringing, thereby bringing the total number of the beneficiaries to 200.
Abduallahi said the scholarship is for first degree and the programmes ranges from Arts, Social Sciences and Pure Sciences such as Medicine and other specialized science programmes.
He explained that the scholarship is also aimed at giving the orphans and vulnerable children in the society hope and a brighter future by creating opportunities for them to acquire university education in various disciplines of their choice.
“The foundation has already paid the tuition fees for the students.The gesture is aimed at assisting the orphans and vulnerable children to acquire western education that would empower them to be better and responsible people in the society rather than them to roam the streets hopelessly, and be used as merchants of violence.
“This is because these merchants of violence often take advantage of their situation to use them to achieve their own selfish and mischievous mission in the society,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries, Moanret Dabit, said she heard about it through a family friend and upon applying she was giving the scholarship. She the founder, Dr Abdullahi, has done what is so far unprecedented in the nation for students of the needy to have scholarship and study abroad.
Dabit an 18 year old said she would be studying International Relations at the University, stressing that the foundation did not discriminate against anyone whether on the basis of religion or ethnicity because the selection process was transparent.
She promised that they will do their best to make the founder proud of them, as well as making their family and the nation at large proud.
Another beneficiary, Umar Abdulbasid Maikano, 21, said the course he applied for and would be studying is Computer Science, adding that the scholarship covers their tuition fees throughout their study, accommodation and other logistics.
Maikano who hails from Bassa Local Government Area of the state, maintained that it would be a wonderful experience to be studying outside the country under a scholarship that their parents would not have been able to afford.
Reacting to the gesture, the Chairman of the Parents Association of the Zazzaga Educational Scholarship, Emenike Mathew Isiwu, called on the government to collaborate with the foundation in any way they can so that education can be boosted in the country.
Isiwu said the foundation will not rest on its oars in supporting less privileged students to get good education, noting that the founder is a man of his words and always committed to keeping to his promises.
Meanwhile, a comprehensive list of the successful candidates for the scholarship was obtained by the journalists, as well as confirmation of payment of school fees, accommodation, feeding among others for the students to the tune of N226 million.