The ICEF Education Fund is proud to announce the launch of a new charitable initiative: The ICEF Education Fund Scholar Programme. On an annual basis, this programme will select one promising higher education student from a disadvantaged background to receive funding for one full year at university. The Education Fund’s first ICEF scholar – Bu*, a student from Myanmar – will spend the next year completing a Masters degree in education in Hong Kong.

Since its launch six months ago, the ICEF Education Fund has remained firmly committed to its original mandate – to help disadvantaged children and youth around the world to access education. This ambition is already shaping the lives of young people world-wide: in Jamaica, for example, Education Fund donations have purchased computers to help impoverished children become literate; in Turkey, Education Fund support is keeping marginalised girls in school; In Uganda, our funds are training vulnerable youth to become desperately needed nurses; the list goes on.

In the tradition of our other projects, the ICEF Scholar Programme strives to help disadvantaged young people become educated; however, it distinguishes itself in several important respects. While previous projects supported various educational levels, the Scholar programme emphasises Higher Education – recognising that disadvantaged students who wish to complete tertiary studies face especially intimidating obstacles. While other ICEF Education Fund projects may support any aspect of education, including teaching materials, teacher salaries, and classroom construction, the Scholar Programme funds only scholarships. The recipient will remain in touch with the Education Fund throughout their year of studies and beyond.

To inaugurate the Scholar Programme, the Education Fund has already selected its first scholarship beneficiary. Bu will receive US$7000 to complete one year of her Master of Education in Hong Kong.

Myanmar youth like Bu have faced tremendous difficulties in the pursuit of an education. This is a country that has been labelled “least developed” by the UN since 1987, and that spends a single US dollar yearly on each citizen – for health-care and education combined. Since funding for education is completely inadequate, an education of sufficient length is an unlikely accomplishment: roughly 50% of Myanmar youth do not attend secondary school, let alone higher education. To address this situation, Bu intends to return after graduation and help forge an education system that lives up to the needs and abilities of Myanmar’s people.

To administer Bu’s scholarship, ICEF has partnered with the Thabyay foundation (www.thabyay.org), a non-profit organisation seated in Thailand. Thabyay has undertaken education related charitable work since 1996; the foundation’s goal is to help South-East Asians – particularly people from Myanmar – achieve large-scale development that is sustainable and self-directed. To accomplish this goal, Thabyay provides socially-engaged individuals with the tools to support and develop their communities. Among these tools, education takes pride of place: since 1996, Thabyay has sourced and administered scholarships for over 1000 individuals, allowing scholarship holders to study at universities throughout Asia. Thabyay’s successful track record and wide-range of support services give ICEF full confidence that Bu will have all the support she requires to gain the knowledge and skills that Myanmar needs.

To nominate a project or a student for an Education Fund Scholarship please contact communications@icef.com