survived the 1994 genocide. She saw her father brutally slain by a band of
killers wielding machetes. Although she survived with her mother and sister,
she lost her entire extended family: grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Ange’s studies are supported by a superb organization called Orphans of Rwanda.
It may be the only one in sub-Saharan Africa focused on university education
for orphans, and it now sends more than one hundred students to universities
throughout Rwanda. In addition to tuition (cost in Rwanda: about $550 per
year), these students receive comprehensive services – health care, housing
support and a living allowance – that help them focus on their studies. I’ve
met many of them. These students are all stars who, without this organization’s
support, would be concentrating on day-to-day survival rather than on their
orphans go on to be leaders in business, their communities, and in service to
others. Investing in university education for those who can make the cut will
pay dividends for decades and generations to come.
much publicity, Orphans of Rwanda received a staggering 1,500 applications for
68 available scholarships this past year. That’s an acceptance rate of less
than 5 percent — making today’s selectivity in the Ivy League appear generous.
Hundreds of fantastic applicants have to be turned down. This organization is
about building human capital in Rwanda as much as it’s about supporting
students like Ange, who never thought they would have a chance to go to
to Africa is often viewed from 100 miles up. At the macro level, development
assistance, World Bank support and foundation grants are talked about in the
multi-million or multi-billion dollar range. But that’s not the only way to
make a deep impact. Small, local, carefully targeted support can be truly
far-ranging, and is just as important to Africa’s future.