January marks the start of a new year, and new beginnings. At Komera, January is when we welcome new members into our family by selecting a new class of Komera scholars!
In Rwanda, Upper Secondary School, Senior 4-6, is equivalent to high school grades 10-12. We focus on these 3 years of school because during this time young women are the most vulnerable- meaning they have the highest chance of dropping out of school to marry, get pregnant, or move home to help with housework and loose focus on their education. When we support a young woman during this time, and keep her focused on her future goals, she has the best chance of long-term success.
Our program currently supports 70 girls in secondary school, 19 in our Post Secondary Transition Program, and 18 with university scholarships.
This year we are welcoming 24 new scholars to our program, and our process for selection of Komera scholars is comprehensive.
In the fall, we distribute applications to lower secondary schools in the surrounding sectors in Kayonza District; Rwinkwavu, Ndego, Kabarondo, Kabare, Rusumo and Ruramira. Teachers and local officials spread the word about the Komera program and the opportunity to apply in January.
How does Komera Select Scholars?
Starting in January the Komera team travels to visit each sector government office to collect applications and meet with students. The application includes information about the student’s schooling up until this point, including school reports and grades. Students must have passed their Senior 3 exams to be considered, and results from the exams are not published until the beginning of January, so we have a short window of time to evaluate students.
The student completes an application about her willingness to study, her education, life goals, and answers questions as to why she would be a good candidate for the Komera program.
Our social worker and staff meet with each student for a thorough interview to learn more about each girl. We want to get to know each student to learn about what they are passionate about and their determination to study and succeed in the face of challenges. Each student that joins our program is with us for 8+ years, so we are very selective in this process.
After the interview process, our team is off to conduct home visits. It’s important that we meet with the parents or guardians of each student. Parents are our #1 advocates, so we need to know that they are supportive of their girls’ education and that they will encourage her to succeed. We take into account the “Ubedehe” category of the family, which is the government-determined poverty level. This helps us select the most vulnerable girls, who would have no chance for school if not for Komera.
Our team deliberates over each student’s application. After much discussion with the entire Komera team, we select the most determined, vulnerable girls who show enormous potential.
We can’t wait to introduce you to the incoming class of Komera scholars!