Youth Empowerment Scholarship
Established in 2018, Youth Empowerment Scholarship (YES) is a refugee educational program of the Young Adult Empowerment Initiative (YEI), that pays tuitions for unaccompanied South Sudanese refugee children in Uganda Settlements, who demonstrate academic excellence but cannot be in the classrooms due to lack of financial support.
Why support unprivileged refugee children?
Needless to say that orphaned and unaccompanied refugee children are very talented – with passionate dreams for the future. For example; 11 years old Nyaduoth Nyang dreams to take care of the sick people in refugee camps around the world when she grows up, while Modi Ladu aspires to build peace in his country by becoming the President. Our preliminary assessments in settlements in Uganda indicate that every at least 2 out of 5 children who are not attending school are either unaccompanied minors or orphans. These children are not only out of schools but also are subject to physical hard labour i.e cultivating family’s crop-farm, fetching water from several miles-away boreholes and collecting firewood from unsafe bushes. The girl child is particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation, and forced and early marriage.
An inspiration from a former unaccompanied child
The establishment of the YES program was partly inspired by the story of our Co-founder and Executive Director, Gatwal Gatkuoth who was separated from his parents at 11 years of age by the Second Sudanese Civil War in 2002. Gatkuoth crossed to Uganda as an unaccompanied refugee child in 2005. He was lucky to get a sponsor who paid his tuition fee and scholastic materials from Primary through High School and then Windle Trust Scholarship for the college – these are opportunities that saved him from all sorts of physical and psychological abuse and changed his life positively. Gatkuoth is now a community organizer, and a strong voice for peace and education at the International level.
Program overall goal and five-year-target
At their formative stage, the program’s overall goal is to support academically talented children who were separated from their parents by the civil wars by sending them to school where they can be protected from physical abuses, while getting psychological support and pursuing their dreams at the same time. Our five year goal is to at least sponsor 50 unprivileged children with an annual target of 10. Program sustainability includes; keeping track of scholars’ performance and impact, promotion of girl child education and outsourcing partnership and support form education agencies, individuals and foundations.
YES’ beneficiaries and selection criteria
With limited resources at our disposal, we understand that we cannot get every unprivileged child into the program, as much as we would like to. We try as much as possible to make the program merit-based for every child who meets the following selection criteria
- Scholars must either be unaccompanied or orphan registered refugee children
- Beneficiaries should be between 7 to 17 or 19 for girls of age.
- At least 70% of the scholars should be girls while 30% are boys
- Children must demonstrate academic excellence that promises a brighter future
- YES takes demographic representation into consideration i.e ethnicity, region & religion
- Scholars are administered with an attitude and aptitude assessments and tests through essay writing, reading, maths, interest and commitment learning.
Who can support YES, and how?
YES welcomes generous support from friends, people of goodwill, schools, Academic Institution, Education agencies, INGOs, Foundations, social enterprises and other entities who believe in our cause. We accept personal donations, grants, support in fundraising campaigns, school pupils’ placement, volunteerism, in-kinds, Goodwill ambassadorship and corporate corporate responsibilities’ support.