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Stories from the Field – LIFE Scholarship

LIFE Scholarship is one of Devxchange’s oldest and most successful projects. Lead member, Tessema Bitew has provided approximately 500 scholarships of varying sizes to students in Ethiopia. In a country where most families cannot even afford uniforms to send their kids to school in, LIFE Scholarship provides a opportunity for many students to escape poverty. It costs just $205 to send a student to school for a year. Each student is unique with their individual stories of struggle, difficulties, failures and success. Situate Mengiste was a LIFE Scholarship student until he successfully graduated predatory school (high school) and was accepted to university. His story is both unique and typical of all of LIFE Scholarship’s recipients, read the translated story below.

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“I guess I was born and grew up in Debremarkos. I say I guess because I don’t know any family members and for that matter any person related to me to tell my story.

I grew up sleeping in the streets not knowing any parents, all the while making every effort to go to school. When I reached grade six, I found a Good Samaritan woman who took me to her home. My school grades improved a lot and I stayed with her until grade 8. When I started Grade 9 she passed away and I had no else to take me in. I went back to where I started, on the street. I started making my living doing all kinds of odd jobs like carrying luggage from the bus station for passengers, shining shoe, etc. and I was back to sleeping on the streets.  Most days, I slept on the street with an empty stomach. Because of my living situation, my grades suffered significantly but I still made and effort to go to school.

Seeing my situation, a girl in my classroom asked her parents to help me.  Her parents tried to help me, but the support from this family was not enough for my schooling and living so I went back to supporting myself by shoe shining and doing odd jobs.  As a result of my living situation my grades started to suffer again.

Eventually, a teacher at my school advised me to apply for the LIFE Scholarship. I applied and got the scholarship. After getting the scholarship my life changed forever, and  my grades started improving and by the time I finished my high school I was one of the top performers in the school.

Thanks to the LIFE scholarship, I finished my high school with a very high distinction and joined Addis Ababa University (the best and oldest University in the country). Currently, I am in the third year Engineering faculty.”

For more information about the LIFE scholarship fund and to donate to their cause go to their web page.

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