Posted on October 18, 2019
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University education remains entwined with African history. The University of al-Qarawiyyin in Morocco opened its doors in 859AD and is widely considered to be the oldest continually operating university.
However, the prospect of attending university for many across sub-Saharan Africa remains little but a pipe dream. A report by the World Bank found those in the top wealth bracket tend to do better in higher education than those in the poorest sectors of society. The truth is that many simply can’t afford higher education.
But finance isn’t the only block to education. A bleak pictured is painted when you compare university places to population numbers: there are 740 universities serving around 660 million people. For context, the US has half the people yet 7 times as many universities. As a result, 6% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa will enrol for some form of tertiary education compared to a child in a developed country who has an 80% chance.
It’s clear that something needs to change.
We at ACT want to make a change. Our objective is clear; we can enrich communities by educating those who can give back. And this is October’s theme – ENRICHING.
Our focus was on medicine. In sub-Saharan Africa, there is an evident shortage of health workers and countries here have the poorest health indicators. For every 5000 people in Africa, there is only one doctor. As a result, this impacts each country’s ability to fight diseases and provide essential medical attention. Moreover, those who are in the profession have too high a workload and inadequate resources to encourage them to stay in the job. This is largely related to the inaccessible nature of the tertiary education system in Africa. Medicine is a five-year course, costing anywhere up to £4000 a year with direct entry. For the average person this is utterly unattainable. Governments would rather push students towards sponsorships into business where the course is shorter and cheaper. So for those who dream of studying medicine, it often remains just that. A dream.
However ACT wants to change this. Aniceth is a 25 year old man from a small village called Nyamirembe in Tanzania. He is fatherless and one of six. A life embroiled in poverty. The family struggles to make ends meet as the wages earned through farming barely cover basic daily needs. This hardship even put Aniceth’s education at risk. Despite this, he had always dreamed of becoming a doctor and he would continually pray that one day this would happen.
Then in 2015, ACT met him. After speaking to Aniceth, we offered to cover the cost of school materials. When he completed Form 6 in December 2017 with excellent results, he was offered a place to study at St Joseph’s University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This was an exceptional achievement as he was the first child from his village to receive admission to a university. However, the cost of entry was too much for him to raise alone. Aniceth needed the equivalent of £800 a year over five years to cover his medical fees, and on top he needs to cover the cost of living.
With funds in place, our hope is to encourage disadvantaged children who would otherwise have no possibility of going to university to now consider medicine as a profession. Aniceth is now in his second year of studies and volunteers as a mentor to encourage other disadvantaged children into the profession.
Yet, we cannot provide these funds without your help.
Please donate to this cause to begin to change the medical world in Africa. Africa desperately needs more African doctors to treat those who are the most vulnerable and enable them to sustain their own community without the need of foreign intervention.