Many of third-year undergraduate Nicole Agong's schoolmates at Kenya's Moi University were busy preparing for their upcoming exams, but the psychology major had to face an additional challenge — paying her tuition fees.
Agong is an orphan and she depends financially on her frail grandmother, who is finding it hard to pay for the student's education. Having missed out on government bursary support, Agong decided to defer her studies for a second time.
But Agong recently resumed her studies when the Chinese embassy in Kenya awarded her a scholarship, with nine other student beneficiaries from her college.
"Receiving the Chinese scholarship means a lot to me. It is discouraging to see your fellow students progress with their studies while you sit idly at home due to a lack of school fees. I am relieved that the collaboration between the Chinese and Kenyan governments is enabling students like me who are not able to raise school fees to stay in school," Agong said on Nov 22.
She was speaking during the award ceremony of the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship, held at the university in Eldoret town.
During the event, Isaac Njuguna Kimengi, acting vice-chancellor of the university, said that the Chinese scholarship, launched in Kenya 10 years ago, is significant because they have bright students who come from abject poverty and even if the government pays some of their fees, they would still have arrears.
Making a difference
Presenting the scholarship awards, Zhang Zhizhong, minister counselor at the Chinese embassy in Kenya, said that it is China's heartfelt privilege to be able to make a difference in young Kenyans' lives. He advised the students to use the opportunity to work hard and make a difference in their families, communities and country.
The scholarship, which was introduced at Moi University five years ago, has helped 50 students to continue with their studies uninterrupted. So far, 404 college students from across the country have benefited from the scholarship, which Zhang said is also a product of the Belt and Road Initiative toward the promotion of education.