The Tujenge Scholars Program (TSP) is the flagship initiative of the Tujenge Africa Foundation. The first of its kind in Burundi, TSP is an eighteen-month intensive preparatory program designed to equip the next generation of Burundian leaders with the connections and skills that they will need to move the country forward. In teaching fundamentals like English and Math, focusing on leadership development, and offering individualized counseling, TSP has become an essential launching point for incredible change-makers in East Africa.
TSP commits to one high-achieving, low-income cohort of exceptional Burundian young adults each year, for a post-secondary “gap year.” Scholars are challenged to think critically about the world around them. They are introduced to college-level reading, writing, and math, and charged with simultaneously becoming local and global citizens. Classes are taught exclusively in English, in recognition of the importance of the language in the East African Community economic bloc.
Beyond classes, scholars select, plan, execute, and document a year-long public service project. These projects are a practical exercise in leadership, and reflect the bright creativity and potential of these students to effect real change in their communities.
Education is the collective achievement of a community, not just a journey in solitude. Education carries with it a moral imperative to better the lives of that community and others. The overarching mission of the Scholars Program is to incubate the next generation of ethical Burundian leaders who are closely linked to the region and the broader business and political world. As such, each Tujenge Scholar is strongly encouraged to return to Burundi and work for a minimum of two years after graduating from university.
While TSP is first and foremost a peacebuilding initiative, dedicated to nurturing the academic space to grapple with the tough questions facing the Great Lakes Region today, Tujenge also strives to provide its students opportunities to experience a world-class education at the university level, complementing and building on the kind of education students receive at Tujenge. With a 100% university matriculation rate across Tujenge’s first two cohorts, TSP has a demonstrated track record of helping students to find opportunities for higher education the world over.
In working to help high-achieving, low-income students access university educations, financial barriers can prove nearly insurmountable for students from impoverished backgrounds. Part of Tujenge’s strategy to provide university opportunities comes in helping students navigate the complex and convoluted world of university financial aid. In just two years of operation, Tujenge students have been offered a cumulative total of $3.8M in university-funded grants.