"Be as Engaged as You Can Be": Sponsor a Scholar, Find a Deep Connection & Inspire Dreams!
Since its inception in 2008, Komera has supported over 150 young women with transformational secondary school scholarships. While we have grown a lot since then and have expanded our programs to provide a variety of holistic support services, education remains a pillar of our work, and the scholar sponsorship program is a key element of what keeps Komera going!
The word sponsor stems from the Latin word spondre, meaning "give assurance, promise solemnly." The essence of sustained supportiveness this definition conjures captures what our sponsors do. When you sign up to support a scholar, you have the opportunity to support and connect with the same young woman in all three years of secondary school and beyond to post-secondary options, like university and vocational programs!
Komera believes in the deep and long-lasting impact of meaningful relationships. For this reason, we encourage sponsors to make a face-to-face connection through Skype with their scholars during the three annual Leadership Summits. During this time over school breaks, all scholars come together to continue their leadership and life skills building with the Komera team, making it an ideal time to connect with sponsors across the globe!
Throughout the year, scholars also write letters to their sponsors and share academic and personal updates. The growth that happens between the Senior 4 and Senior 6 grade levels (approximately ages 15-18) in Rwanda is incredible, and we make sure to send photos to sponsors each year, along with letters and regular updates!
It is important for us that the scholar-sponsor relationship is mutually beneficial. Scholars have said that they love practicing English and sharing about their life with someone who will listen and who genuinely cares about them, no matter the distance.
The long-term nature of the Komera Scholar Sponsorship program fosters a deep connection. Laura Fase, who joined the Komera sponsorship program in 2017, feels her relationship with scholar Olivienne has blossomed over the years. The first few times they Skyped were a bit challenging, although Laura still really enjoyed it. She learned to speak a bit slower and really listen to what Olivienne was sharing. She immediately found that Olivienne reminded her of her niece and loved that she shared her poetry and sang a beautiful song on their first call. Since then, Laura tries to connect with Olivienne at every Leadership Summit, and each conversation becomes more vibrant as they grow to be more comfortable with one another. They have found a rhythm in their conversations, both noting how much they look forward to their tri-annual chats!
She shares about her life so authentically, and she has a really great personality. When I start my day talking to her, I feel much more joyful and at peace for the rest of the day!
~Laura Fase, Komera Scholar Sponsor
Our sponsors report that they really appreciate the amount of outreach from Komera, a ‘goldy locks’ perfect balance of feeling connected without being burdened. Sponsor Tricia Vancore, who has been sponsoring scholar Theodette since a trip to Rwanda circa 2012, keeps busy travelling. With her life on the go and four kids, she sometimes finds it hard to Skype, but she happily told us, “I always feel connected to Komera and appreciate the positive messaging.” She connects with her scholar when she can and loves receiving letters year-round.
Tricia’s perspective is special to us, as she and two of her older daughters spent an afternoon with the Komera scholars when they visited Rwanda seven years ago. She was touched by the familiarity she felt, as if they had all known one another for a long time. The Komera girls and her daughters shared stories, sang and danced together, breaking down cultural barriers and expanding perspectives on all sides. Plus, Tricia loves that
The [Komera] girls don’t hesitate to dream big. No matter what they’ve experienced in their lives, they dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, scientist! The Komera Program really helps the girls they work with to believe that they really can do whatever they want to do.
In many ways, the sponsor program embodies the lofty ambition to connect and build peace in the world, bringing us all closer to deeply appreciating the perspective of another. The feedback we get from sponsors and scholars is that the connection Komera facilitates is authentic and reminds both parties of shared humanity. Jennifer Akerley, who has been sponsoring scholar Rebecca since 2017, noted,
You realize everyone has very similar human emotions- in the sense that you want to feel connected. And we all recognized that education is a huge part of expanding the world. It is a good reminder that a lot of things are universal.
The advice all three women would give to someone considering sponsoring a scholar? JUST DO IT! Laura, Tricia, and Jennifer can’t say enough positive things about being a sponsor and the benefits on their lives and their scholars. Jennifer shares,
Be a sponsor, and be as engaged as you can be- it’s so rewarding for both people, and I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it!
Feeling inspired to join the scholar sponsor family? Get started >