The Cummings Africa Foundation (CAF) over the weekend provided 20 fully funded scholarships to young Liberians who are majoring in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and agriculture.
After receiving 92 applications, 26 were selected for the interview and 20 of the applicants were successfully awarded the scholarship.
Beneficiaries of the program are from 11 tertiary institutions including the Adventist University of West Africa, African Methodist Episcopal Zion University, Bluecrest University College, Bong County Technical College, Cuttington University College and Graduate School, Mother Patern College of Health Sciences, Smythe Institute of Science and Technology, Starz College of Science and Technology, Stella Maris Polytechnic University and United Methodist University, University of Liberia.
At the Foundation’s Honoring and Award Program in Monrovia, the founders, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander B. Cummings exhorted the scholarship recipients to pursue excellence in order to be impactful in society.
Mr. Cummings said the future of the world is all about technology and, as such, the foundation is committed to supporting Liberians in pursuing their aspirations in their studies.
He urged the students to work harder to stay on the scholarship, indicating that “Liberians are exceptionally talented and smart like other people around the world.”
“I have been blessed to live and work in many countries in Africa and around the world. And I say to you that those people are not any smarter than you are, as Liberians. It is all about giving you the opportunity to pursue your goal and, if given that opportunity, you will do well as they are,” Mr. Cummings said.
Mrs. Theresa Cummings, CAF’s Co-founder, said the foundation was established in 2015 by her family with a vision to empower Africa and Africans in the sectors of education, health and agriculture.
She underscored the core values of fostering a strong commitment to giving back to Liberia, drive results, collaborating and exercising a high degree of professional integrity and ethics in the discharge of its duties and responsibilities.
Mrs. Cummings also thanked parents of the scholars for their continued support, adding “the Scholars do not only need financial support but emotional and moral supports that will enable them provide excellent results.”
She stressed that it is the belief of the foundation that the education of the youth is the future for a better nation, adding: “by supporting the education of our young people, we are helping to create future doctors who can help build our healthcare system, technology specialists who can create apps that will improve our livelihood, engineers that can improve our infrastructure, scientists who can invent the next cure for future diseases and pandemics.”
She also disclosed that, since establishment of CAF in 2016, some of the impactful contributions of the foundation include the payment of WAEC fees and providing tutorial support for over 4,000 students from over 40 schools across Liberia at the cost of US$106,000; a donation of a 350 KVA generator to the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) valued at US$67,000 and a monthly contribution of US$10,000 for the operation of the Alexander B. Cummings Model Science and Technology School in Duport Road, Paynesville.
She also pointed out that the foundation distributed medical equipment to six referral hospitals across Liberia including the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Margibi County;C. B. Dunbar, Gbarnga, Bong County; Government Hospital in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County; J.J. Dossen in Harper, Maryland County; Gbeapo Health Center in Fish Town, River Gee County; and Star of the Sea Health Center in West Point, Montserrado County; all valued at US$565,000.
Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell, Country Director, CAF, said the scholar program began in 2017 and has since awarded nearly 200 scholarships covering approximately US$100,000.
She indicated that the scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, potential leadership skills, and demonstrated need, and as such, students who are awarded scholarships through the CAF scholarship program must maintain a “B” average and remain active in their communities.
The Country Director said the program has grown significantly since its inception and, over the next few years as scholarship recipients graduate from college and enter the workforce, they expect to see measurable and impactful results.
Dr. Brownell said the Cummings Africa Foundation values education and believes that financial constraints should not limit a person from pursuing higher education, noting that the focus of the program is on STEM and agriculture disciplines because the foundation wants to see more Liberian doctors, engineers, scientists and agriculturalists.
Musulyn Ville, a scholarship beneficiary, thanked the Cummings Africa Foundation for giving her hope to get education that will make her impactful in society.
She recalled how her parents could not pay her fees but, with the intervention of the Foundation, she can now reach her educational goal.