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The Scholarship that transformed Jackson’s life

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]There is nothing more disturbing than an internal wrangle among family members. The circumstance is even more troubling if the family feuds lead to tortures and force members to escape to another country. Moving from a peaceful settlement straight into refugee life because one is threatened by their own relatives is a gruesome challenge.

Well, that is exactly what Jackson Nemiymana went through. Born in Burundi, Jackson’s life took an abrupt twist to the bad side in 1997 following a serious family feud which later led to violent harassments and discriminations among family members. Coincidentally, that was also the same period that Burundi was plunged into a civil war. These two conflicts forced Jackson including his younger sister and brother to flee Burundi to Tanzania’s Kigoma refugee camp.

“Our lives were threatened.” Jackson recalls “We knew that if we stuck around, we would be in great danger.” Tanzania marked Jackson’s long rough journey as a refugee. It was the beginning of his 11 year stay in the country, where he also did primary and secondary education and part of his university studies. It was during his second year in college while pursuing a diploma in medical laboratory when his world tumbled upside down.

“The Tanzanian government started forced repatriation of all refugees.” Jackson recalled. “there were disturbances across the country and schools were closed.” The chaos affected his studies. Jackson’s world came to a standstill. It was impossible to return to Burundi because the country was suffering from a civil war. Besides, they would be walking right into the raging family wrangle he had fled from if they went back home.

“There was no future in Tanzania for us and we decided to leave.” Jackson retorted. In 2008, they departed Tanzania for Malawi and were transferred straight to Dzaleka refugee camp. Jackson thought Dzaleka would offer a fresh new start but he was wrong. Their daily life was marred by food shortage and other serious problems. Even worse, he had no immediate means of returning to school to recommence his studies. Nobody was willing to sponsor him since tuition fees for the medical discipline he wished to pursue was too expensive, costing over one million Kwacha. His situation was made further complicated because he had to fend for his brother and sister.

“I stayed for over two years at home, trying hard to seek sponsorship opportunities. It was a difficult period.” All the while, he had to alternate between jobs to earn income to support his siblings. Just when he thought his state was hopeless, one of his friends introduced him to There is Hope. The friend informed him of the university scholarship programme that we run and encouraged him to apply for a place in the next scholarship intake. Jackson decided to give it a shot and when we advertised for scholarships in 2010, he was one of the applicants.

“I passed the interviews and I was blessed to be among the scholarship recipients.” Jackson explained that he saw his gloomy future lighting up. He enrolled for a degree in Business Administration in a private university and thus started the resumption of his university education. He commented that the scholarship emerged at a convenient time when he had nearly given up all hopes of attaining a professional qualification. It also marked Jackson’s career in a different field from his previous studies.

“I chose Business Administration because when I was working in different jobs to support my family, I was introduced to the aspect of business. This is what I wanted.” Jackson graduated in 2017 with a credit. With the newly attained high qualification, Jackson observed, he will now be able to seek decent jobs in reputable companies – something that previously was merely a dream. In fact, he has already started receiving job offers from big companies like Toyota Malawi.

“It’s a dream come true. Thanks to There is Hope’s scholarship package.” Jackson concluded. Jackson is not the only individual on our scholarship programme in his family. His younger brother, Ahiya, recently received our scholarship and is studying for a degree in Public Health.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]