ProsperityME is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Prosper Scholarship award. Nine college-bound asylum-seeking Immigrant Mainers were selected from a highly-competitive pool of 48 applicants. Recipients were selected by an independent review committee consisting of 10 volunteers, who scored applications according to a pre-determined and reviewed rubric. The winners are:
Vanusa De Paula Chico – Business Administration – Angola
Narciso Miguel – Business Management – Angola
Grace Muheto – Human Biology – Democratic Republic of Congo
Allan Monga – Nursing – Zambia
Ange Uwera Ndayisabye – Nursing – Rwanda
Irineu Piula – Political Science/ Law – Angola
Kasongo Lea Yere – Business – Ivory Coast
Jacquelina Leonardo – Finance/Business – Angola
Aimable Nkurunziza – Electrical Engineering – Rwanda
Asylum-seekers are ineligible for federal student aid through the FAFSA due to their immigration status. Launched in 2018, the Prosper Scholarship is designed to serve as a solution to the financial barriers that prevent college-bound asylum seekers from completing their educations and securing a good job. The scholarship is a two-year award that covers the full cost of tuition and books at a Maine-based community college for up to two years. The goal is to help recipients to earn at least an Associate’s degree debt-free, and become competitive in the job market.
“This program is a critical opportunity of asylum-seekers,” said Claude Rwaganje, the Executive Director of ProsperityME. “Maine is a state that needs a skilled workforce. Immigrant students are young, hardworking and capable. We are so proud of our Scholarship students and pleased to help nine more students achieve their dreams.”
To expand the scope and impact of the scholarship for future generations, ProsperityME has partnered with Southern Maine Community College to provide additional financial support to awardees entering their second year of study. This support may cover the cost of books, tuition, room and board, and school fees. As part of the program, peer and professional mentorship opportunities will be offered to awardees. Mentors will help students to make the most of their college experience, generate professional connections and secure internships that will prepare them to enter the workforce.
29 Scholarships have been awarded through the program since 2018 and six students have graduated from their programs of study. Vanusa De Paula Chico, one of the 2021 awardees is excited to start school in the fall: “What excites me the most about this opportunity is the certainty of being able to pursue my academic goals. Before this opportunity I had only my academic plans and the hope of achieving them. But now I have the academic plans and the opportunity to achieve them. I am very happy and thankful for the Prosper Scholarship Program!”