Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Scholarships Help Empower Female University Students

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Scholarships Help Empower Female University Students

Article excerpt

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- A Muslim undergraduate said the support she received from a Christian organization makes her want to help other poor Bangladeshi women.

The 22-year-old botany student, Fatema-Tuz-Zuhra Nilu, told UCA News that after her studies, she will reject all marriage proposals and try to work in a nongovernmental organization for "women's empowerment in this country."

Her farming family in northwestern Joypurhat district was too poor to send her to university, but she managed to study because World Vision Bangladesh gave her a scholarship.

Nilu, who attends a university in Rajshahi city in northwestern Bangladesh, and about 250 other Muslims, Christians and Hindu women gathered recently in Dhaka, the nation's capital, for the annual meeting of beneficiaries of the "University Girls' Scholarship Project."

Each receives 1,200 taka (about $18) a month for educational expenses--a relatively small amount, but enough to change lives.

Addressing the gathering, Theophil Hajong, World Vision Bangladesh's acting executive director, quoted Napoleon Bonaparte: "Only an educated mother can give birth to an educated nation."

Hajong added, "The purpose of the scholarship project is to create educated mothers in the country. …

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