Our school community is requesting funds to provide a scholarship for five students. Some have lost parents, some are primary breadwinners or caregivers for themselves and their younger siblings, and all five of these students struggle to come up with their school fees every year. In spite of the challenges they face at home, these students persistently demonstrate their commitment to education. Our Tuition Assistance Program Committee voted for these five students to receive scholarships because of their high level of achievement and motivation in school. Some achieved the top position in their class, some have begun discussion groups and clubs. All five have big dreams for their future and a pragmatic understanding of the career opportunities available in Lesotho. In their personal statements, the students recognize the importance of building the practical skills such as numeracy, finance, and English that will help them achieve their goals of becoming an engineer, doctor, accountant, banker, or entrepreneur. In order to encourage and enable these high aspirations, the TAP Committee plans to help students build the capacity and leadership skills they already have through the implementation of income generated activities, volunteering, and a life skills club.
The Tuition Assistance Program Committee, comprised of teachers, administrators, and non-academic staff, is excited to bring this scholarship opportunity to our students. In addition to fulfilling the "community contribution" by donating elements of the school uniform (ties, tracksuits, hats, sporties, jerseys, and bodywarmers), members of the TAP Committee also plan to engage our scholarship recipients in a variety of community-based, capacity-building activities. One TAP Committee Member attended a UNESCO-sponsored environmentalism workshop over winter break. She plans to involve the five scholarship recipients in her sustainability volunteering projects, which include building keyhole gardens and recycling waste materials. Class teachers will continue to stand as pillars of support for our school community. With so many students who do not have or do not regularly see their parents, the class teachers at our high school often step into a more parental role for our students; listening to the students' concerns, offering advice, and providing emotional support. The teachers are so motivated to implement a tuition assistance program because, after hearing about students' home challenges and stresses for so many years, they really know the extent to which a break from paying school fees could change a student's life.
Education in itself is sustainable, and now that our TAP students have applied for this grant, they understand the sponsorship application process they will be able to apply for other sponsorships, including sponsorships for university. The success of our income generating activities will enable our TAP recipients to continue covering their school fees after they are no longer eligible to receive this scholarship. The TAP Committee has been brainstorming IGA ideas including selling school breakfast, making and selling crafts using sustainable materials, and charging admission for community movie nights. The students are particularly excited about organizing a talent show - they will recruit student talent, arrange a rehearsal schedule, and charge admission and sell refreshments on the night-of. Beyond the scholarship aspect of the Tuition Assistance Program, the framework that the TAP Committee has been using to identify and educate the TAP scholarship recipients could also be used more broadly, to implement student activities of any kind. In the past, our school has struggled to sustain clubs and other long-term activities. Now that the teachers have a workable plan to implement TAP activities, they will be able to apply the same framework for implementing clubs and other activities.