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Mark’s Trip to the Akwanya Workshop in Rochester

Our founder, Mark Albertyn, was recently invited to the US for 10 days to represent Makomborero Zimbabwe with Akwanya who we partner with.

Akwanya, which in Twi translates to “a path towards opportunity” is part of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. It creates higher education opportunities for academically talented, yet economically disadvantaged African students, and empowers them to make a difference in their communities. Akwanya is a collaborative effort between universities, secondary schools and NGOs around the world who seek to demonstrate that by removing financial barriers and providing the right kinds of support, students from disadvantaged communities in Africa can enroll and succeed in university, and ultimately make a difference in their communities.

Here is Mark’s story:

It is a great privilege to be able to partner with Akwanya and to receive scholarships from them through the MasterCard foundation. We have 2 students entering their second year on Akwanya – MasterCard scholarship – one in US and one in Zimbabwe. Pamela is our 3rd student who started this August in the US. The trip was an opportunity for us, as partners of Akwanya, to meet the Universities reps, attend part of the induction process for the new students, meet the other partner orginasations and generally build relationships and share the vision of Makomborero.

This year the conference was held at Rochester University, in the US. It is a lovely campus and we were well looked after. I attended various sessions and spoke on how we help our students make the massive transition to a private school. It was interesting to hear the Dean of Admissions from Rochester talking about international students who come from poorer communities. He said it is not good SAT scores that determine the success of an international student at a U.S. college, it is whether they have made a successful big transition during their younger years. This got me thinking about what an advantage our students have over other scholarship students – they have made a massive transition into private education – so this receiving a scholarship to an international university is tough but easier for them in many ways. A few of our Makomborero students have highlighted how they have noticed what an advantage they are at in this area.

Akwanya Meetings

I was also able to spend some time with Pamela as she adjusted to the new food and her new life. We had a wonderful visit to Niagara Falls together and I felt privileged to see such a beautiful waterfall – though in my personal opinion it does not compare to Victoria Falls.

Niagara Falls

The trip really cemented our relationship with Akwanya and our deep gratitude for the partnership we have with them. We trust that we will have a few more students accepted for next August!

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