ProsperityME is excited to announce the winners of the 2020-2021 PROSPER Scholarship; a scholarship to help asylum-seekers work toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at a Maine college or university.
The six award winners were selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 40 asylum-seeking students currently enrolled in high schools and colleges in Southern and Central Maine. Because asylum-seekers are ineligible for federal financial aid, many are often forced to postpone higher education goals. The PROSPER Scholarship gives asylum-seekers the opportunity to pursue their dreams right here in Maine.
Our six 2020 award winners are:
Guay Kelly, Angola
Jean Daniel Liwanga, Democratic Republic of Congo
Perside Ntumba, Democratic Republic of Congo
Gabriel Sibomana, Rwanda
Feza Wembo, Democratic Republic of Congo
Angel Mugizi, Uganda
“I am very pleased to be selected for the ProsperityME Scholarship,” stated one recipient. “I intend to use my degree to work in Maine and serve my community by sharing my experience with other immigrants like me.”
“We are very proud of our scholarship students,” said Claude Rwaganje, Executive Director of ProsperityME. Claude envisioned the scholarship as a solution for asylum-seekers in 2017, when in partnership with FAME, he discovered that many otherwise-qualified young people were not eligible for financial aid due to their immigration status. “It was very hard decision for our committee. We congratulate this year’s six winners and look forward to helping them with their education though financial assistance and mentorship.”
As part of the program, scholarship recipients will be paired with mentors to help them build professional networks in their intended fields as well as providing guidance throughout their college experience. Additionally, mentors help prepare students for the workforce and develop the soft skills employers look for when making hiring decisions.
The PROSPER Scholarship is in its third year. Since 2018, 20 scholarships have been awarded to asylum-seekers living and working in Maine. Five recipients have graduated from their programs and entered the workforce. The 2020 winners are enrolled in Maine colleges and universities for fall 2020.
Questions about the PROSPER Scholarship can be directed to ProsperityME’s Executive Director or Director of Administration.