Bridget Khunga is a recipient of the Orant Ulemu Scholarship, a university scholarship for high achieving students in rural Malawi.
The Orant Journal
Orant Student Sponsorship: An Investment in Malawian Communities
In Malawi, secondary school prepares students for trade school or university. The catch: it costs money. Many secondary students in Malawi struggle to pay tuition. Their families cannot afford it. John Nyirenda was no exception. “I was chased out of school for failure to pay school fees,” he said.
John grew up in a rural village. He was the last born in a family of five. He explained, “there were not many role models in the village.” But one stood out to him: a nurse at the health center. Seeing how this nurse served others inspired John. He felt called to work in health service. He feared that without an education, this dream would not come true.
At a loss, John talked to the Bowe Parish Priest in Kasungu, Malawi. He discussed the barriers to his education. The priest connected John with Orant Charities Africa.
Orant started paying for John’s tuition in his second year of secondary school. His sponsors continued to support him through college. It took discipline and hard work for John to succeed in his studies. “I was afraid of failure. I did not want to disappoint those paying for my school fees.”
John did not disappoint.
9 years after his sponsorship began, John chose to return to Orant. This time, he worked as a volunteer for Kasese Health Centre. He was still in school, waiting to write his final exams in nursing. After his exams, a position opened up at Orant. John applied, interviewed, and received an offer. Now, he is a Nurse and Midwife Technician. He is registered with the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi.
“Working with Orant is a dream come true,” he said. His coworkers make him feel at home. “I am happy that Orant takes care of both its employees and the surrounding community.”
John’s heart is tied to serving others. He wants to continue growing with Orant. Eventually, he hopes to further his education from a diploma to a degree. Then, he plans to pay it forward. “I want to use my resources to help others who are struggling with school fees.” Education, he believes, is a key. “It has transformed my life. It has given me hope and the opportunity to save others. With my salary, I am able to take care of myself and my siblings.”
John Nyirenda’s story exemplifies much of what we hope to do with our programs. John achieved personal success. He accomplished his dreams. But he also made new dreams. And his new dreams involve his community. He will continue to give back. Children will see him as a role model. Ultimately, he will contribute to Malawi’s self-sufficiency. This is Orant’s goal.
Stories from the Field
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Esther Maupa is a 2022 recipient of the Orant Ulemu Scholarship. This scholarship covers university tuition for Orant Sponsored Students.
Mary Chipala applied for the Orant Charities Ulemu Scholarship. She is one of 7 students who won the scholarship to attend university.
For a long time, inclusive education has been a challenge in Malawi. Children with special needs have less access to education.
In Malawi, primary education is free. But for secondary education, families must pay tuition fees. For families with more than one child, school costs can become a burden.
In 2022, Orant's Ulemu Scholarship will fund university tuition, room & board, and books for 7 outstanding Malawian students.
Every Tuesday and Friday, the Kasese Youth Club meets on Orant’s campus. They participate in talks, conversations, and games.
Education improves earnings and inspires possibilities. All students deserve to learn and girls need extra support.
Poor sanitation and hygiene are major contributors to the burden of disease and school dropouts in rural schools and communities in Malawi.