Los Altos United Methodist Women (UMW) established the African Student Education Fund in November 2005 after helping a young African woman fund her higher education for two years.
UMW had connected with Gladys Nyauchi, a Methodist mission worker in Zimbabwe, through the Prayer Calendar program. After learning that her daughter Loice was a student at Western Michigan University who desperately needed tuition support, interest in education for African women grew and this new education fund was established. The first use of donated funds helped Loice to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a degree in economics.
The fund was designated to support African women with tuition for higher education. Schools must be accredited institutions, and students must intend to use their education in Africa. Funds are sent directly to the school, not to the student.
Money raised by United Methodist Women and generous donations from our congregation have enabled UMW to support 50 students since the fund was established. (Here is the list of African students). Scholarships have been sent to students at Western Michigan University, Central Methodist University in Fayette, Missouri, the Mozambique campus of Africa University, Methodist University of Western Angola, and Africa University in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe.
Africa University is a fully accredited, United Methodist-related institution, the first private university in Zimbabwe, Africa. Established in 1952, it offers six faculties or colleges and five postgraduate faculties. More than 6,000 students from 29 African countries have graduated from this university, going on to be a vital part of the renewal of the continent of Africa. The cost of educating a student at the university for one year is US $5,645.
In the United States, the Africa University Development Office supports our efforts to provide education for women at Africa University and assures safe and certain ways to transfer our funds. Mr. James Salley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the Development Office, has been a guest speaker at our Africa Sundays at LAUMC several times. His belief in miracles has encouraged us to believe that we can continue to raise funds to continue to support “our students.”
Africa Sunday has become an annual celebration of our congregation’s support of education for African women. The last Sunday in January has been designated for this purpose. Our United Methodist Women create a special Sale-Abration on that Sunday, in which they sell a lavish variety of gifts, florals, and baked goods they have prepared. All materials for the Sale-Abration are donated, so 100 percent of profits are used to pay for tuition.
Additional donations from our United Methodist Women and from our generous congregation determine the amount of support we can provide students for the coming academic year. To date, more than $300,000 in tuition scholarships have been provided for 50 students.
For more information, contact Jan Lull.