By Tope Templer Olaiya
THE search is on for the recipient of the second Luz Neema Foundation N6 million Canadian scholarship, which will be spread over four years. The foundation’s administrator, Mrs. Mobo Oresegun, announced this in Lagos last week.
The scholarship scheme began in 2012 as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Comfort Zone Educational, a consulting firm dedicated to recruiting, counseling and application processing for Nigerians wishing to study in Canadian universities or colleges.
The scheme focuses on selecting disadvantaged students with focus in sciences and technology courses, particularly those not readily available in tertiary institutions in the country as a way of growing the Nigerian economy of the future.
Winner of the maiden edition, Fehintola Okunubi, is currently studying Biomedical Engineering at Simon Fraser University, Columbia in Canada.
Words had failed Okunubi in 2012 when reality dawned on her that her lifelong ambition to become a Biomedical Engineer was falling into place as she clutched the $40,000 scholarship to study in any Canadian university of her choice.
Born with an amniotic band, which led to the amputation of her leg, she had always aspired to surmount the odds, train to become a Biomedical Engineer and in the nearest future establish a centre where artificial limbs would be produced and people trained locally, so that with modern-day medical equipment, babies born with same condition would not have to go through her pains and lose their legs.
But then, it was like a hope heading for the rocks as there was no university in Nigeria offering her dream course, while studying abroad was beyond her reach, as her parents made it clear they could not afford such.
Fehintola was about resigning to fate again when she stumbled on an advertisement calling for entries to participate in a Canadian scholarship by Luz Neema Foundation.
Armed with a top-drawer West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) result and resolute resolve, she was shortlisted for the final round of oral and written tests before emerging winner of the maiden edition.
Oresegun said she is awarding the scholarship not because she does not have faith in the country’s educational institutions, but because their is a lapse which needs to be filled.
Application for the second award has commenced and would last till September 30, 2014 with forms available online at http://www.luzneema.org.
According to the organisers, feedback from the first edition shows a number of secondary schools indicated interest in the scholarship scheme but its students were unable to participate due to unavailability of SSCE results.
The foundation was requested to hold another award towards the end of the year to enable freshly graduated secondary school students the opportunity to participate.