A 21-year old student who is the only girl to have studied primary and secondary education on Likoma Island has been awarded a university scholarship by the Diocese of Northern Malawi. She is the first female from Likomo in decades to go to university. Likomo is the largest of two inhabited islands in Lake Malawi. The diocese scholarship was established to reward the most outstanding student at St Peter’s Anglican Secondary School. It is part of a package of incentives to encourage students to pass their Malawi School Certificate of Eudcation (MSCE) exam – the final qualification for students in the country qualify with a margin lower than 20 points. Mercy Saidi passed her MSCE with a score of 15 points and has been awarded a four-year scholarship at the Kamuzu College of Nursing.
The Bishop of Northern Malawi, Fannuel Magangani, spoke of his hopes that Saidi will return to Likomo island to serve the local community after she qualifies. “We made a pledge to support her education from first year to fourth year when she finishes her studies,” he said. “We hope by supporting her she will also come back on the Island to support other people.
“But we have seen it today that we can give an award to a student from our own school, so we are very blessed today and grateful, that we have at least a product that is going to be a registered nurse from Kamuzu College of Nursing.”
He praised local congregations who had donated financial gifts to fund the scholarship as their commitment to mission, even though they themselves were very poor.
“I am so excited because it is like a dream come true,” Saidi said. “I always wanted to become a professional and spirited nurse that would be trusted by her clients.”
And she had a message of encouragement to other girls to study science-based subjects and to work hard to achieve success.
“The Science subjects are for everyone regardless of sex as long as you work hard and stay focused when you put your determination on what you want,” she said. “I know my parents would not manage to pay for my tertiary studies, I want to thank the diocese for helping me.”
Her father, Emmanuel Saidi, also thanked the diocese for the scholarship, explaining that without it, he would not be able to afford the fees. “I have unlimited excitement that my daughter has finally secured scholarship for her university studies,” he said. “I am happy because she has made us proud. I almost gave up sending her to university, because I do not have money, God is the only way.”
In addition to the scholarship, Saidi also received a number of gifts from well-wishers, including cash and pledges in kindl as did fellow-student Steven Mabviko, who scored 16 points on his MCSE.