Rotary aids university students with scholarships

Nineteen students at the University of the South Pacific (U.S.P.) Alafua Campus have received scholarships valued at $15,000 courtesy of the Apia Rotary Club.

The Apia Rotary Club Scholarship Committee Head, Savave Sapolu, said literacy and education has always been a big part of what the Rotary Club does in Samoa.

“Our scholarship programme aims to give students who might not have much with the help and a lot of our students. We are also helping students from the National University of Samoa by providing scholarships,” he said.

“The scholarship programme has been ongoing for six years now. We usually offer $10,000 value of scholarship funding but this semester the amount has increased because the students we supported last semester received good grades.”

According to Mr Sapolu, the financial assistance given to all students from both universities totalled $50,000 in monetary value.

The U.S.P. Alafua Campus Coordinator for Pacific Technical and Further Education, Magele Vernon Mackenzie, acknowledged the partnership between Rotary and the USP through the provision of financial assistance for the students.

“The assistance is important especially in the wake of COVID-19 global pandemic not only on the island but also internationally,” he said. 

“We have students that qualified in Semester 1 and 2, we have law students, also those that want to be doctors or environmentalists or teachers and they are our future.

“There is a Chinese proverb ‘if you plant for one year plant rice, if you plant for 10 years plant a tree, if you plant for 100 years educate children.”

He added that the partnership has been ongoing since 2018 and also used the occasion to thank the students’ parents and staff for their contribution.

“Any student can apply and we identify and find the needs of those who fit the criteria such as a financial need; the student must be academically sound or smart and potential to do well and their character.

Magele added that some students received full scholarships while others had partial scholarships. 

“We want to grow our students in academia but also in character. They not only represent themselves but also their families, villages and it’s a big responsibility but Apia Rotary makes the final decision.”

A scholarship recipient, Hope Aso Letoga, told the Samoa Observer on Wednesday that the financial assistance courtesy of the Apia Rotary Club is very much appreciated.

“I feel blessed to have been chosen for the scholarship because I know so many students wanted the same opportunity,” she said.

Ms. Letoga said that the scholarship is significant because education is the key to success.

“We do not have much money but this help will ease our financial problems. I thank the donors especially Rotary for this act of kindness and hope they will continue it since there are so many students like myself that need it.”

The 19-year-old from Mulifanua wants to become a lawyer in the future.

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