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Give back to community – The MasterCard Foundation Scholars alumni challenged

Ms. Victoria Serunkuuma Kisarale, the a celebrated English-teacher and current headmistress of the oldest girl’s school and one of best schools in Uganda – Gayaza Girls’ High School, gave a much-ballyhooed keynote speech to 478 students initiated into the bulging number of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars alumni. The speech that one might rightly categorize as inspiring was punctuated by good-natured humor and deep insights into life.

She applauded The MasterCard Foundation for its generosity in supporting the education endeavors of the students who have just completed their A ‘levels courtesy of the financial support by The MasterCard Foundation through BRAC.

In this the second ceremony after the first in which 115 students started the Alumni Association, Ms. Kisarale thanked The MasterCard Foundation for placing humanity and giving back to society at the core of its sponsorship philosophy and implored the students to “always combine academic ability and endeavor with active service to their community”.

“But we also know that to be educated”, she said, “The goal of it must be human liberation. A liberation enabling each of us to fulfill our capacity so as to be free to create within and around ourselves. To be educated to freedom must be evidenced in action, and here again is where we ask ourselves, as we have asked our parents and our teachers, questions about integrity, trust, and respect.”

“I believe that giving back to the community is one of the most important things a person must do. Being successful in today’s world is essential to a lot of people including myself. But I do believe that being successful comes with a great responsibility to provide for others,” she went on.  “The MasterCard Foundation and BRAC have given to you, so must you give to others,” the renowned educationalist admonished the scholars.

“When most people think of giving back,” Ms. Kisarale told the attentive audience, “they think of monetary contributions and although I believe that is very important, there are many other ways we can give back to our community. Every community whether large or small has people who need to be reached by the love of others and that is something that successful people should be led to do. From doing activities such as community clean ups, tutoring at schools or teaching a Sunday school class at church, everyone can find something that is suitable for them. These are all things that give back to the community in which you were nurtured and will help to provide opportunities for others to become successful. Each one of you in your community is a part of the future and if you do not do your part in inspiring others to be successful, the investment in you by The MasterCard Foundation may have been, to some extent, in vain.”

She advised the scholars to work hard, value time and always seek to better themselves.

Speaking at the same function, the Commissioner for Private Education in the Ministry of Education and Sports, Science and Technology, Robinson Nsumba Lyazi, emphasized the value of self-discipline, saying, “It is that which, next to virtue, truly and essentially distinguishes man from all other creatures and one cannot succeed with it”. He thanked The MasterCard Foundation for mentoring and educating Uganda’s future generation and pledged government support and co-operation in the activities of the Foundation in Uganda.

The MasterCard Foundation has earmarked $500 million for scholarships awarded to gifted students and administered by 21 partner institutions working across Africa, North America, Lebanon and Costa Rica. Uganda has the largest single quota of 5,000 students over eight years ending in 2020.

Ms. Grace Namata Sennoga, the Communications Manager for The MasterCard Foundation at BRAC Uganda told The Independent that they will recruit 600 scholars into the program in 2016.

According to Kim Kerr, Deputy Director of the Scholars Program at The MasterCard Foundation head office in Toronto Canada, the Foundation – which also partners with Makerere University – will continue to expand its reach and recruitment in Uganda.

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