Eleven outstanding students from the University of Zimbabwe were awarded scholarships on Saturday under the China-Zimbabwe Friendship Scholarship to cover part of their tuition fees.
The inaugural ceremony of the scholarship program, which was hosted by the Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe (CIUZ), was facilitated by the China Africa Economic and Culture Exchange and Research Center (CAECERC) with support from the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe.
The China-Zimbabwe Friendship Scholarship was launched earlier this year mainly targeting students from state universities studying engineering and technology, health sciences, agriculture, natural and etc, the CIUZ’s director Li Liqin told Xinhua.
Recipients of the scholarship pocketed a $300 cash prize each.
In addition, winners of an essay writing competition organized by the Chinese Embassy and the CIUZ under the theme “My story with China” also walked away with the latest smartphones and laptops.
Drawn from all walks of life, the participants of the competition wrote about their impressions of China and their Chinese language learning experiences.
After impressing the judges with her essay in which she narrated her first-hand experience with China during a month-long summer school program in Beijing, Rufaro Lucetta Makiwa scooped the first prize of a Lenovo notebook.
Makiwa, majoring in English and Chinese languages at the University of Zimbabwe, said the increased engagement between China and Africa motivated her to study Chinese.
“The bilateral relations between China and Zimbabwe motivated me to see that we are now working together, so I just thought if I do this program I will have a lot of opportunities, I won’t be stuck,” she said.
A scholarship recipient and winner of the second prize of the essay writing competition, Natasha Machaya, narrated her experience learning Chinese characters and the mechanisms she used to master them despite their complexity.
“The scholarship motivates me so that I can get another scholarship next year, and I will work hard towards getting another scholarship for my master’s degree in China,” she said.
Victor Mugari, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Zimbabwe, expressed gratitude to the Chinese community for supporting local education initiatives.
“For our students having the chance to be equipped with the resources to pursue their education is something that is very important to us, we want to see our youths being empowered to pursue what they do best,” he said.
Steve Zhao, Director of the CAECERC, said the scholarship program is part of the Chinese community’s initiatives to give back to society.
Through the CAECERC, Zhao has facilitated and promoted various cultural exchange programs between Zimbabwe and China including bringing Chinese students and scholars to Zimbabwe as well as sending Zimbabwean students and scholars to China.
One of his signature programs, Dreamstar Zimbabwe Talent Search Competition, has become the most prominent talent show in Zimbabwe.
Each year Dreamstar sends young talented Zimbabwean artists to China to showcase Zimbabwean culture on the international stage.
Winners of the contest have also benefited from educational scholarships offered by Dreamstar with support from the Chinese Embassy.
China has been at the forefront of promoting Zimbabwe’s education, with the Asian country providing over a hundred scholarships to Zimbabwean students each year through the Chinese Government Scholarship, Confucius Institute Scholarship, various provincial government scholarships as well as scholarships funded by Chinese enterprises in Zimbabwe.