The Western Union Foundation provides access to the global economy through education and workforce skill trainings to those most in need. For that reason, we have launched a scholarship fund in partnership with the Institute of International Education (IIE), specifically for international students who face countless challenges related to COVID-19. This includes financial instability resulting in difficulties to fund tuition and other basic needs such as healthcare, food, and housing. Global unemployment, travel restrictions, and fewer job opportunities due to shutdowns have left many international students at a disadvantage and in significant financial need, despite universities prioritizing the health and wellbeing of their students.
“The Western Union Foundation believes that international students are an integral part of a growing community of global citizens. They are international ambassadors leading academic excellence, research, and cultural experiences. They contribute to an inclusive, innovative, and interconnected society and workforce, both globally and locally,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, Executive Director of the Western Union Foundation.
Last year, we announced scholarships for 25 students. Below is the story of Chinyere Onyeneke, a recent Law graduate from Nigeria, who shares her experience to inspire the next generation of change makers to follow their passion.
“I am Chinyere Onyeneke, a young lady who has learnt to strive to achieve her goals despite life’s challenges. I am from Nigeria, a country located in the Western part of Africa. I was born, in a small but popular town called Onitsha in Anambra State, Nigeria, where my family currently resides. I am the first child of my parents and have three younger siblings. In addition, I am the first in my family to acquire higher education. My parents never had access to higher education even though they are brilliant and that inspired me to pursue my education and rewrite my family’s history.
When I started high school, I had no clear-cut picture of my career aspirations. All I knew was I wanted to reach the highest level in education. It was when my father fell victim to fraud, causing my family huge financial setbacks that I chose to study law. The opportunity to attend a Law program meant a dream come true and an avenue to positively impact lives.
Due to my family’s financial crisis, I would go from place-to-place selling goods like sachet water, fruits, cooked peanuts, and so on, after school hours and during the holidays, to help support my family.
At the end of the program, I was called to the largest bar in Africa, it felt surreal. I started off with a leap of faith with no strong assurance of being able to complete the program but here I am today, a licensed and qualified attorney-at-law in my home country.
Being a first-generation Law School alumnus has indeed added meaning to my family’s history and antecedents. I am very excited about this achievement. I believe the hard work and determination it took to get to and through Law School will take me far in my career. Also, being an African young woman who is educated, I am happy to be a source of inspiration to others. I feel elated for paving the way for future generations.
I would like to say a huge thanks to the Western Union Foundation for assisting my Law School education and for being part of my success story. Being a Western Union Scholar is on its own a great prestige. I feel honored to be part of this family. I am very grateful for the show of kindness from the WU foundation team at a time when it felt like things were almost falling apart in my academic journey. I want to tell everyone who helped me one way or the other in my academic journey how much I appreciate them. Words cannot express how grateful I am.”
IIE is accepting nominations for the 2021 WU Scholars program through October 15th, 2021. In order to be invited to formally apply, students must be nominated by a representative from their higher education institution. Learn more about the eligibility requirements here and follow us on Twitter for more success stories.