The Tsehay Zewde Memorial Scholarship (TZMS)
1. Established in 2011 in memory of the late Tsehay Zewde, the scholarship program supports all female students with visual impairment who are enrolled in AA University.
2. More than 350 students have benefited from the TZMS program over the past 9 years. Among the graduates, one is an aspiring diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, another is a lecturer at AAU. Most of them are employed in different parts of the Government's public service.
3. The dropout rate of blind female students has been reduced significantlyy, from 85% to less than 1%, since this Program started. A few students moved to the Teachers Training College and became certified public school teachers. Others continued with the Masters program and our first PhD student is preparing to graduate in 2020.
4. We started with 89 students in 2011. We have enrolled 47 students in our 2019-2020 program. This decrease is due to the establishment of Disability Centers in many universities across the country.
5. An average of 15 scholarship students graduate every year from Addis Abeba University in different fields. All receive "job readiness training" generously offered by Ethiojobs, a lead employment agency in Addis. The highest achievers join the paid internship program offered by ECDD (Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development) and they are placed in socially responsible NGOs and enterprises.
6. Each student receives three types of support from the TZMS Program:
○ A financial grant of 900 birr/term to meet their special needs, in addition to the support given by the University to all disabled students. Each student has a special savings account at Commercial Bank of Ethiopia branch on campus.
○ Skills training including empowerment and life skills training; intensive computer classes through the summer; and job-readiness training for graduates.
○ Assistive technologies: 60 digital voice recorders and 35 laptops were distributed to date.
7. We assigned 6 student representatives who help shape the program based on the students specific needs. The objective is to support the academic success of the students and to advocate for a more inclusive education. The program has successfully impacted on the university's disability policies and practices.
8. Partners of the program in the past 9 years:
○ Addis Abeba University
○ Ethiopian Association for the Blind
○ Initiative Africa and Swedish SIDA
○ Rotary Club of AA Entoto which hosts the program.
○ Private donors and friends of the program like Anna Kim from Korea, whose coffee exporting enterprise Latoya donated 250,000 birr towards the purchase of laptops for 45 students.
9. Future of the Program
○ Continue supporting the 47 blind female students at AA University
○ Start a similar program at Bahr Dar University in 2020 to support all 27 blind female students based on their special needs.
○ Solicit donations of laptops from foreign universities and private entreprises
○ Increase access to adaptive technologies and computer skills training
○ Expand empowerment training, summer programs and job readiness training
○ Create an alumni association to promote mentorship, coaching and insure sustainability of the program.
10. Funding need
The Program was founded and sustained over the years with personal grants made by Aster Zaoude in memory of her late sister Tsehay Zewde.
It has received small donations and large grants from individuals and partner agencies.
As of 2019, the Program was endorsed by Rotary Club Addis Abeba Entoto. All financial contributions are received by the Club. They are managed and audited as Rotary fund.
The amount needed for the year 2021 is estimated as follows :
Amount,US$ (1 US$ =37,26Birr)
Financial grant : 900 Birr X 4 X 74 (47+27)
Training in life skills, IT and English proficiency
Advocacy and public relations outreach to local sponsors
Materials and miscellaneous costs
The total need for the year 2021 is estimated to 12 840 US$
11. Funding source :
a) The funds collected through Rotary Club of Ferney Voltaire ( Clubs and District ) will finance part of the stipend distributed to the Students.
b) Rotary Club Addis Abeba Entoto will contribute an amount of 1 000 US$
c) Requests are launched towards Rotary Clubs of Ethiopia and the District (9212)
d) Our long time partners in this program will be asked to contribute.
e) A fund raising activity will be organized towards the end of the year.