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Mawista Scholarship for students studying abroad with a child: vote for a winner, up to 15.02.2021!

The voting is open: In the last few days we received numerous applications for this year’s scholarship program “Study Abroad with a child” and now the jury has made a decision: Young people from all over the world have proved themselves as organizational talents as they have decided to study abroad despite having a child.

Along the lines of “diversity enriches the education infrastructure” it’s not about the best grades or the most demanding course – it’s about the desire to further your education with a child at your side, it’ about the courage to take this big step abroad and it comes to strength of personality.

If you are mastering this double burden in everyday life, you can not only be incredibly proud of yourself, but with a little luck you will be sponsored by MAWISTA with 3000 Euros!

Each of the candidates is extraordinary and courageous – after all studying abroad with a child is a great challenge. Nevertheless, the best candidates had to be selected and we are pleased to present them to you now!

The winner of the scholarship is determined using a public vote.
Would you like to participate in the vote and have a say in who wins our scholarship? Then you will gain an insight into the individual stories of the participants in the following.

We encourage you to read the excerpts of the applications carefully, as everyone can only cast one vote. All necessary information about the finalists are located at the bottom of this page.

 

Nour Abdelmotagaly

I’m a loving mother and an Architect, who began the journey of pursuing her Master’s degree in the field of “Landscape Architecture and Greenspace Management” while being pregnant with her first child, who is now 1 year old.

It was a tough decision to make, to pursue my studies abroad away from family and friends who were eager to share this special time with me, but ever since I found out I was expecting, I became driven by a profound force to become the best version of myself on the personal & academic level in order to honor this life growing inside me.

I managed to successfully complete the past semesters with merit, despite the fact that I arrived late for the first semester because of the visa procedures, and despite giving birth in the middle of the second semester and caring for my newborn baby all by myself, as my husband was living in another city (also in Germany) at that time, but I felt that the presence of the baby motivated me to do more and pushed me forward. She was always keeping me company, tossing and turning inside me while I worked on my assignments when I was pregnant and after she was born, she joined me in class whenever I needed to attend lectures. And back at home we enjoyed our quality time together away from the vigorous pace of life, just the two of us. 

My husband who is also a Master student, always joined us during weekends and breaks, but finally all three of us got reunited a few months ago and we now live together. Our situation as parents who are both studying abroad at the same time and taking care of a child is quite challenging but we enjoy every moment we share as a family, and we try our best to provide a loving, nurturing environment for our daughter despite all circumstances.

There is always a choice, to look at motherhood and the responsibilities that come with it as hurdles and obstacles that pull one down, or to gain strength from it and let it push one forward while enjoying the best gift anyone could ask for, a child.

Now I still have the journey of writing my Master thesis ahead of me, along with taking care of my daughter’s growing emotional and developmental needs especially in this difficult time of Covid 19, where social interactions are minimal, but I’m hopeful that we can make it through together as a team, just the way we do everything.

Babirye Mary Estellah

Like majority of girls living in sub-saharan Africa, I suffered abuse from a violent father and a paedophilic grandfather. My father physically and financially abused me and my mother until separation. I narrowly escaped my grandfather’s defilement attempts but no one cared. Later, my teacher shared my experience with my family after which some of the victims received justice. This lays the foundation for my passion and commitment to contribute towards ending violence against women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Globally, violence against women and girls is the commonest form of human rights violation. World health organization shows that someone in three women has at least experienced physical, and/or sexual intimate violence in their lifetime. However, Sub-Saharan Africa records the highest levels of this silent pandemic. (Devries,2013). Despite available data and evidence about violence against women and girls, there is a need for more data about some forms of violence, a complete understanding of its consequences, and knowledge about preventive and responsive interventions.

This situation forms the foundation of my interest in studying public health epidemiology. I embarked on Epidemiology because of its multidisciplinary nature that involves statistics, medical research, social sciences to address such a multi-disciplinary public health problem as violence. Thus, undertaking the program will equip me with the necessary competence to contribute to the need for expanded research and evidence to end violence against women and girls.

As part of the Master’s degree training, the study of biostatistics has improved my ability to manage data. Later I plan to synthesize literature and be able to contribute evidence that can support policy and decision making. Also, the study of epidemiology is enhancing my skills to design, implement, and evaluate interventions. Later I hope to contribute knowledge on what works to prevent and respond to public health problems especially violence.

As a student in Europe, I am optimizing other opportunities like attending external webinars, and pieces of training by reputable research companies and universities. I engage in students’ union activities and consult with doctoral students. I have become aware of numerous career opportunities and I have managed to secure a topic for my graduate thesis. My overall career goal is to utilize the knowledge gained to contribute towards creating a violence-free world for women and girls.

I am determined to enhance my career and I appreciate opportunities. Amidst the absolute lockdown in Uganda, I spend four days in transit to reach Sweden. I braved twenty-eight hours and forty minutes of bus drive from Uganda to an open airport in Tanzania. As a lactating mother I braved leaving a two year old daughter behind because I had no means as I am on a partial scholarship, the costs of the journey were exorbitant, however, I made it to school.

Mawista childcare scholarship is reputable in supporting students who are studying abroad with children. By supporting my child (Amandla) Mawista will be contributing to creating a violence free world for women and girls. Bringing Amandla to Sweden will give me the mental wellbeing required to optimize opportunities here in Sweden. As a feminist, I am bringing up my child as a confident reasonable superwoman, therefore I will have the opportunity to continue nurturing my daughter this way. Sweden is one of the countries with the best child care policies and so the safety, security and education of my daughter will be better and of good quality, so Amandla may not have the same horrible childhood experience more especially now that I am absence.

When Amandla will arrive, I plan to shift to a family apartment and take her to an integration club for children where she we be gradually introduced into new culture. I have already made her schedule for her activities. Later she will start pre-school. Living with Amandla and affording to take care of her, will give me the best mental state to achieve my goals. Kindly give me the chance to live with Amandla.

Karou Löwenstein

One year has passed since I applied for the MAWISTA scholarship for the first time. Even though I didn’t succeed with the scholarship, I managed to start my study adventure abroad. Ready to try it again this year!

I want to take the chance to reflect upon my last year, the experiences I made while studying abroad with my child, what progress I accomplished and where the journey is about to lead me.

2020 was a turbulent year for all of us. I am more than lucky that neither my 16 months old son nor myself have been fallen ill with COVID-19 so far. Nevertheless, the stress of managing my studies significantly increased due to the pandemic. During the last term my son was at home nearly the whole time, since the child day care wasn’t available as a result of the risk of spreading. Being a single mom that meant for me to manage the workload of five full time jobs at the same time: providing childcare 24/7 and studying with a workload of 40 hours per week.

I admit, there have been nights where I lied in my bed crying from exhaustion, but in sum I am fairly proud to say that I mastered the last year with a lot of strength and perseverance. Last year while writing my application for the MAWISTA scholarship 2020, me and my son were still living in a women’s shelter where I found refuge after escaping the lifelong exploitation by a sex trafficking network. I took the decision to study human rights in order to fight for a world that respects the dignity of each human being, each child, each woman – and defends it by all means. A world in which those, who systematically degrade other human beings, deprive them of their freedom in order to sell them to the highest bidder, are consequently prosecuted while their victims get the desperately needed protection. A world in which taboo topics such as organized child sexual abuse, human trafficking and forced prostitution are finally recognized as societal problems – and where this crime is seriously tackled instead of being repressed of our common conscience after hitting the headlines for a couple of weeks. A world in which even leading industrial nations are strictly monitored for human rights violations as these are certainly not a “third world phenomenon”. The cases of widespread child sexual abuse in Lügde, Bergisch-Gladbach and Münster spoke volumes. It cannot be accepted that perpetrators of most grave human rights abuses find refuge in Germany and escape justice, as it happened in the case of “Colonia Dignidad” in Chile.

You will probably recognize that this topic, which is part of my own biography and motivated me to take my studies, triggers some vehement fighting spirit as well as furiousness inside me. But it is this passion and this anger that gives me the needed strength, courage and determination to follow my very own path.

Despite all difficulties 2020 have held for us, I am inspired of the content my studies so far covered and deeply encouraged to continue with my chosen path. After I moved abroad with nothing more than two bags of clothes and my son, who was nine months old at this point, I now successfully completed one term of studies – and amid all this I supported my little one in growing to an incredibly happy, energized kid, that already shred some nerves with his enormous enthusiasm for climbing up on literally everything. The study doesn’t only demands but rather enhances my everyday life with my toddler as it provides me with the very much needed mental balance and the focus for our shared future.

My study program is based on a multidisciplinary approach, discussing human rights from the perspective of international law, politics, sociology and philosophy. In my opinion this approach is crucial in order to get a deeper understanding of the topic and all involved actors. At the same time the last term made me aware of where I want to see me in future: as an international human rights lawyer.

To pursue my dream, I now need to tackle the next big challenge. In order to fulfill the requirements for a master’s in International Human Rights Law I need to additionally complete a Bachelor of Laws. For that I just enrolled in a parallel degree program of the “FernUniversität Hagen”. The online courses allow me to complete the studies while living here in Sweden and completing my current education. At the same time, I have all the flexibility I need as a single mom. I already studied some additional courses during the last term and used every free minute to prepare myself for the upcoming law studies, which is why I am confident that I will also be able to deal with the doubled burden of parallel studies.

The biggest issue I face so far is how to pay the study fees amounting to 2400 Euro. I am lucky enough to be sponsored with BAFÖG – the German student aid – which is covering the living costs of my child and me, but there is no financial margin. Expenses need to be calculated each month and in the end of the month I still often end up scraping together my very last cents. Creating savings is not really an option at this point. With the MAWISTA scholarship I could cover the study fees and take a big step forward on my way to become a human rights lawyer.  The remaining money would allow me to create some reserves for my son. In case the COVID-developments are allowing it, I would love to make a camping trip together with him this summer, so that we can discover our new home country. So far, we only got to know the most southern corner of this big country.

I deeply hope you can support me in my fight for a more just world and enhance my chances to fully use my potential for improving this world.

Thank you for reading my story!

Armine Makhsudyan

When I entered university in 2018, I was already pregnant though I did not know about it. However, that fact did not stop me from pursuing the program of my dream. Upon my arrival in Frankfurt, I was already 5 month pregnant, so when my fundamental examinations started the examination director advised me to deregister from all the exams and take a maternity leave for the next term, which I did.

In 03.04.2019 my son, Liam, was born. Before having a baby, I used to think they only eat and sleep, so I could easily continue my studies. However, it turned out that these little cute creatures take your entire time and energy and contrary to my opinion my son did not sleep at all. So, studying was impossible for me for the first six months. As a result, I missed the entire year. As soon as he turned to six months old in October 2019, I resumed my studies, though I continued to be in a maternity leave. In February 2020, COVID 19 burst out during the period of the fundamental exams. The university closed and all the fundamental exams were postponed to the next winter semester which was one more year.

In 2019, I won DAAD scholarship for one year which was later extended for 6 months because of the coronavirus. However, because of my parental leave and coronavirus my studies have been extended for two years. My scholarship ends in March 2021 and I need additional financing for at least 6 months until my son can attend a kindergarten. I would then be able to work and study. I have overcome very many difficulties in the two years I live in Germany to be able to complete my Master’s degree in Money and Finance and I hope with your help I will finally achieve my goal.

There is no place to attach documents, so please feel free to contact me for any documents.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Natalie Würbach

My name is Natalie, I am (meanwhile) 40 years old, a single parent and proud mother of the most awesome kid in the world – Yunissa, who just turned 8 years old last December.

I am currently doing my Master degree in African studies in my third semestre. My plan is to study for two semestres at Stellenbosch University in South Africa from January to December 2021, where I have already been admitted.

Of course my kid will be coming with me and he also got admitted at the German International school in Capetown for one year.

I am currently busy preparing our stay abroad, which involves quite some organizational skills, as you can imagine.

My son and I have travelled the African continent a lot already, spending most of our main time in West Africa though.

Before I had my son, I had already been to Sierra Leone a couple of times for a number of reasons. I first got there during my Bachelor studies of Social- and Cultural Anthropology to do an internship. For the creation of my BA thesis, I came back to Sierra Leone to conduct field work, I also did research on the topics of human rights in local prisons and I initiated a non profit organization in the capital Freetown, which then led me to start a charity organization back in Berlin.

To do my Masters degree in African studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin means more to me than the development of my academic skills: It is a heartfelt wish.

I have always had a deep interest in peoples different life realities with regards to their very own cultural context.

The main reason for me to study in South Africa is to conduct field research and generate new findings and data for the preparation of my Masters thesis.

Regarding to content, my aim is to investigate the socio economic conditions of people living in the so called “Cape Flats”, an outskirt of Capetown, which has been created during the Apartheid era. The forced resettlement of coloured people has shaped social and economic structures until this day.

I can say for sure that my time I spent in Westafrica has made me the person I am today.

I always try to give my best in raising my child to become an open minded, inquisitive, unprejudiced yet critical human being.

I am firmly convinced that our stay in South Africa is not only going to enhance my future professional prospects but is also going to impact my son strongly in a positive way.I see it as part of my job as a (single) mother to create possibilities for my child to get to know this constantly changing world and its people.

I have been to South Africa with my son for three weeks in February 2020. We also visited a governmental elementary school in a so called informal settlement and I got into contact with the principal.

We agreed to create an exchange project between their school and the school my son currently attends here in Berlin. The aim is to establish a lively partnership to enable the kids from both schools and different social backgrounds to learn from and about each other.

“Woman of action” without apprehension describes me best!

I want to make use of this talent in South Africa by generating academic additional value through my work on the spot.

My son would agree stating that I am a “cool mum”, who is able and willing to look outside the box and who manages her single parent life despite countless appointments, deadlines, studying and being ever curious!

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