In Sierra Leone, education remains a privilege available only to a select few. By providing university scholarships to rural youth, students can gain the knowledge and skills to pursue a career, earn an income, and break the cycle of poverty that persists in Sierra Leone's villages.
Secondary school completion, as well as literacy rates, are well below 50% amongst rural children and youth in Sierra Leone. Additionally, access to post-secondary education is limited for the majority of rural youth. As a result of the high cost of university and the low wages that rural villagers earn as farmers, there are few opportunities for rural youth to attain higher education, establish a career, and escape the cycle of poverty that persists in their communities and families.
By offering university grants to youth in rural areas of the Southwest region, youth can have both a goal for their future and the means to achieve it. Male and female youth who complete secondary school and are accepted to post-secondary institutions will receive funding that will allow them to continue their education and attend university. This funding includes tuition, living costs, and books and supplies.
Farming, the traditional pursuit of villagers, often yields a subsistence way of life. With the financial resources to attend university, students will be able to pursue career paths where a sufficient wage is possible. The economic stability of a career provides an opportunity to end the cycle of poverty that many rural youth experience, and achieve greater health and social outcomes. In the words of a current student, "Poverty is a world of darkness, and education is the light to see".
This project has provided additional documentation in a DOCX file (projdoc.docx).