Fontes Foundation Scholarship Programme

The Fontes Foundation Scholarship Programme supports vulnerable children through secondary education, empowering them to change their life and the one of their communities. The Programme is active in the same fishing villages where Fontes Foundation has been implementing safe water systems since 2004.

Meet Pascal

Pascal is an enthusiastic orphan boy from the fishing village of Katunguru in Western Uganda, where Fontes Foundation has installed a safe water system in 2004.

Being an orphan prevented him from ever being able to fund his education, so Pascal asked Fontes if they could find a sponsor that would support him through his studies. A generous family in Norway agreed to fund the project and in 2006 Pascal left for boarding school.

After graduating with excellent marks he got employed as a waiter at Katara Lodge, a well-known luxury hotel in the National Park, but soon enough he showed his worth and got promoted. Only 2 years later he was a head man for the lodge, representing the hotel at international congresses in Rwanda. In addition, Pascal set up a collaboration between the lodge and the villages through coffee production; the coffee is grown in the villages, processed at the Lodge, served at the restaurant and sold to tourists.

Today, Pascal is responsible for all the Fontes Foundation projects in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, a very important role for the entire area. What an achievement for an orphan boy from a poor village!

Through his education and experience, Pascal has been able to give something back to the community he’s coming from and he’s shown that persistence and motivation, together with Fontes Foundation Scholarship Programme, can send you a long way!

Contact Fontes Foundation to sponsor a student like Pascal

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The Scholarship Programme

Inspired by Pascal’s story, more students requested support, so Fontes established the Scholarship Programme to be able to assess the students equally and fairly. The Scholarship opens once a year to children that are orphaned or vulnerable due to extreme poverty or HIV/AIDS. Fontes screens the applications and selects promising youths based on motivation, school performance and recommendations from teachers.

Once the eligible students are selected, Fontes looks for sponsors for each of them – a family, a club or a group of people that takes the responsibility to support the student throughout their education. The Scholarship is meant to take the students through 4 years of Secondary School and 2 years of Vocational School, the best training to get a job in the Ugandan market.

The scholarship covers school fees, accommodation during the term, basic necessities and the support of a Scholarship Coordinator to provide academic and moral support to the students throughout the Programme. The coordinator is particularly important as most of the children lack self-confidence due to the difficulties they had to face through childhood.

During the school holidays, the students are involved in Fontes’ water and sanitation projects in the villages, so they learn about community mobilization, simple accountability, and some technical skills that will help them in life.

So far the Programme has sponsored 20 students, but it has done more than that – it has encouraged children at primary level to study hard, since they now know that there is a possibility for further education if they perform and behave well.

The fishing villages of Queen Elizabeth National Park

The Scholarship Programme is available to children in the remote fishing villages located inside the wildlife protected area of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda, where Fontes Foundation has been implementing safe water systems for over 10 years. The villages are extremely poor and the harsh living conditions at close contact with wild animals make it impossible for the families to be able to afford education.

In Uganda primary school is government-funded, but secondary education has to be paid by the students. Since they have to concentrate on their studies, students have few chances of working during term, so their families need to be able to afford the high fees, the materials and the living costs while in school. Parents don’t see the point of sending the children to primary school, as there are no prospects of continuing their studies, so most children would drop out sometime during primary school education.

However, lack of education is exactly what was preventing the community members from improving their condition. This was particularly evident when Fontes Foundation started installing safe water systems in the area and setting up a local water committee to maintain it – the committee members were lacking the basic skills to understand how to do it. Thanks to the scholarship Programme the situation has changed and we are extremely proud of this achievement.

Becoming a Sponsor

The Scholarship fee goes entirely to the benefit of the student. Fontes Foundation only acts as a facilitator – selecting the eligible students, supporting them, following up throughout the years and finding a sponsor willing to finance their studies. Each sponsor supports only one child, which means that the more sponsors we find, the more children can go to school. Fontes Foundation will send sponsors regular updates on the student’s progress every four months. In addition, the sponsor can keep mail and email contact with the student.

Given the length of the commitment, sponsors can choose to support the student for both levels of education or only one. In the latter case, Fontes Foundation will endeavour to find an alternative donor that is willing to step in.

Secondary School

The Ugandan O-level follows Primary Education and lasts four years. It’s not compulsory, but necessary for almost any profession. So far 20 students (7 girls and 13 boys) have been at secondary school in Western Uganda thanks to the Programme and some have continued to tertiary education.

8500 NOK / 1220 USD per year
Scholarship cost

Vocational Training

Probably the best option to enter the Ugandan job market, the technical schools last two years and teach the students a profession. Currently one of our students is attending nursing school and 5 students (3 boys and 2 girls) joined YMCA in Kampala, where they are studying electrical engineering and computer science.

9300 NOK / 1330 USD per year
Scholarship cost

Contact Fontes Foundation to become a sponsor

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Michael PletscherScholarship Programme