Monday, 2 June 2014

On the importance of scholarships

My name is Nasrat Esmaty. I am an Afghan Chevening scholar of the academic year 2012 to 2013. 

Nasrat Esmaty (centre) with Prospero Mudza (left) and Benjamin Afreh (right). All three studied at IDS with the support of scholarships

Chevening scholarship made it possible for me to study MA Poverty and Development at IDS. As I left a job to pursue my academic endeavors, this scholarship gave me the financial security I needed as a student. 

While studying at IDS, my only concern was attending to my academic responsibilities. Visiting the UK for the first time and learning about its people and culture was the icing on the cake, which turned out to be a meaningful and an unforgettable experience, too. By unforgettable, I certainly did not mean washing my hands under the two-tap sink and burning my hand in the first month of my stay, nor was I referring to my landlords.

I was referring to breathing in the clean air of Brighton, enjoying the evergreen sceneries, using the well-managed and low-cost transportation system and meeting people from around the world. The reason for venturing into an area of study in development was not just to find a job after I graduate. I wanted and still want to be part of a change in Afghanistan, regardless of how small it can be, in my future professional career. 

This opportunity and status were made possible by both the Chevening scholarship and IDS, which I will always be thankful of. As I was graduating, I came up with the term POVERTICS (an amalgamation of the words POVERTY and POLITICS) and POVERTICIAN (an amalgamation of the words POVERTY and POLITICIAN). 

I plan to take the poverty agenda into Afghanistan’s politics and ensure that poverty reduction is reflected in all the key political and economic decisions in the country. Since IDS is a well-reputed institute, I can even look into international assignments, too.

I believe that the investments made through scholarships go a long way and farther than any other investments. As one of the scholarship recipients and then seeing its effects in my life, I certainly encourage everyone to invest generously in scholarships. Such investments make it possible for capable and deserving individuals who cannot otherwise enjoy the experience of studying in some of the prestigious universities in the world. 

Chevening sponsors seven to eleven (more or less) Afghan scholars to study in the UK every year. I hope that they at least quadruple the number of recipients since Afghanistan needs more and more highly-educated individuals. I also want to request IDS to offer especial scholarships to the Afghan citizens since IDS offerings governance, poverty, gender and development studies) have major takers in Afghanistan and there is a dire need for them, too. I am sure IDS can secure funding for sponsoring Afghan students, too. In the long run, it can add a star to the already good reputation of IDS, too.

IDS have recently announced the IDS scholarships as a result of the generous support of alumni and other supporters. Please visit the website for details and to apply.

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