Meet our Dottie Scholar girls
The Dottie Scholars are a group of high achieving girls who have received high school scholarships through Dignitas. We accept a small intake each year and now have 33 girls in total, ranging from Form One through to Form Four. We’d love to introduce you to a few of the girls!
Age: 18 years
Class: Form 4 (just finished)
Subjects: Maths, Kiswahili, English, History, Business, CRE, Chemistry and Biology
Favorite Class: History
When Pamela first heard about the Dottie Scholarship program, she didn’t think she had a chance. Applicants needed to score over 320 and only six girls from Mathare would be accepted. But after doing well in her final primary school exams, Pamela’s teacher called her into school just after Christmas and told her ‘Pamela, you have an application to write’.
Four years on and in her final year of high school, Pamela reflected on how she felt when she first found out she had been granted a Dottie Scholarship
“I felt happy – I was like ‘Ahhhhhh!!!’ First of all I thanked God for the opportunity. I didn’t even think I would be among the girls who would be chosen. So it was.. a privilege for me. I felt proud of myself!”
The Dottie Scholars are provided a scholarship to St Ann’s, an all-girls, Catholic school just outside of Nairobi. Pamela describes it as a ‘hard working’ and ‘disciplined’ school, where students rise at 4am to shower and are in school from 5am – 6:20pm (“That is perseverance!” she exclaims animatedly.)
Pamela loved politics and enjoyed her History class the most. After graduation, she plans to study Law. But first, she’s planning to take computer classes and continue the community service work she has started as a Dottie Scholar.
Beverly has been a Dottie Scholar for the last four years and just finished her final year of high school in November. She loved her English class and writing essays. Not surprisingly, her English teacher was also her favorite teacher.
Beverly values her schooling and is grateful for the high school scholarship she received from Dignitas four years ago. Education is important to her because of the impact it has on the way she thinks:
“[When you are educated] you tend to think further. You think about the future, and not about today only.”
But as a Dottie Scholar, it’s not just an academic grounding that Beverly has gained.
“Since I’ve been a Dottie Scholar, I’ve learnt to share with others because of the projects we do, and to do charity work, to be a volunteer. I’ve also gained confidence too, [through] the interaction I’ve had with people in the community. I’ve gained confidence and I’ve also gained self-esteem.”
Beverly’s advice for other young girls?
“They should not stop trying. Even if they fail, they are not failures until they quit trying!”
It sounds like good advice for us all!
Age: 17 years
Class: Form Four (just finished)
Subjects: Business, Kiswahili, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and CRE
Favorite Class: English
Age: 14 years
Class: Form 2
Subjects: Mathematics, English, Swahili, Chemistry, CRE, History, Physics, Geography, and Business Studies.
Favorite Class: Physics
Dottie Scholar: Esther Gakii
At 14 years old, Dottie Scholar Esther Gakii has big dreams for her future: “I want to be an aeronautical engineer and a surgeon!”
“At the same time?” we ask.
Her big dreams are not surprising given Esther’s personal hero is Dr Ben Carson. “He was the first neurosurgeon to separate those who were born together,” she explains softly, “so I am inspired by him.”
As a Dottie Scholar, Esther has a full high school scholarship to St Ann’s, an all girls Catholic school just outside of Nairobi. When she first found out she had been accepted, she was happy. She wasn’t sure her mother would have had the means to pay for a high school education.
“It has really helped me. For example, it has provided for me school fees for the four years at St Ann’s and I really appreciate it.”
The Dottie Scholarship program focuses on whole-person development, not just academics, and provides the girls with personal and leadership development opportunities. For example, earlier this year the girls took part in a Self Discovery workshop that focused on personal identity.
“I learnt that the way I see myself is how other people see me. For example, if I see myself as a successful person, that’s when people outside me will also see that. But if I see myself as a failure… other people will see me as a failure.”
When prompted how she sees herself right now, Esther takes a moment to think.
“I see myself…” she pauses and smiles shyly before continuing.
“Nice. I like myself the way I am.”
Unlike other scholarship programs that focus primarily on academics, we’re passionate about also providing the Dottie Scholars with personal development opportunities to prepare them for all aspects of life. Dignitas gathers the Dottie Scholars together three times a year for personal and leadership development, because we’re committed to whole-person development, ensuring these students are equipped with the skills and strength of character to thrive and succeed!