‘A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men ‘ Prov. 18:16 (NKJV)
The first time I read this scripture I was about 12 years old attending a teen’s camp in Nairobi. Yes, I know one is not considered a teen till a year later but you could say I was ‘twelve-teen’ going by my short, plump stature, piercing eyes, a bit of facial hair and my heavy voice. I could have easily passed for a 16 year old actually. I never lost an opportunity to make use of my growth in favor with God and men. Anyway, I claim not to be an authority in theological matters but I remember the context that that scripture was read to us: making use of what you have to get what you need. Note, I said need and not want. Wants and needs are very different though Maslow needs theory commonly taught in schools tends to portray wants as glorified needs as you climb that hierarchy. Again, I am not an academic authority on that so I will refrain from blowing your academic bubble. I agree people grow and as they do, so do their needs. But in light of this scripture, as explained to us as teens, we all have inherent gifts to give to the world that will in turn cause the world to notice us and elevate us speedily to the position that we would ordinarily have to struggle to attain. For me, this is the greatest encouragement you can give to a child to motivate them to work on their gifts and talents. More often than not, you do not need money to develop a gift or talent. You need discipline, focus and perseverance.
In the African culture, talent development was encouraged through proverbs and many wise sayings. One of the most memorable one has to be the Kenyan saying translated ‘A hardworking child always attracts a helper’. This is what we at the Africa International University(AIU) believe in doing-helping talented students to achieve their academic goals through Sports Scholarship. This scholarship is however not limited to field sports but also music, spiritual formation, drama among other extra-curricular fields of excellence. This is a scholarship aimed at promoting exceptional talents in various student activities with the aim of developing a holistic student as well as marketing AIU to the outside world. According to the Sports & Recreation Coordinator at AIU, sports has four outstanding benefits as outlined below
1. Sport and physical activity are important components of healthy living: Longer life, higher resistance to diseases, and improved physical functioning
2. Sport also acts as “preventive medicine” and reduces health care costs. Sport contributes to healthy communities and development
3. As a major contributor to community social life, sport is an important part of our culture, traditions and identity
4. Community sport is second only to the family in potential to transmit values to individuals
5. Participation in sport and recreation develops self-esteem, self-discipline and responsibility among individuals; sport encourages a positive identity.
Surely, with such benefits attached to sports, it is imperative that our sportsmen/women get some incentives from institutions of learning to pursue academic courses at subsidized costs. AIU facilitates many indoor and outdoor sports activities. The university boasts of a well-equipped football team, volleyball team (both men and ladies), Table Tennis, chess, darts, badminton and drought and other activities being developed gradually.
Like any scholarship, the sports one is moderated by a few terms and conditions to ensure mutual benefit to the beneficiary and the benefactor alike. These guidelines also ensure, merited beneficiaries only enjoy the privilege. Continuing students must demonstrate outstanding performance in their area either as individuals or teams as determined by the evaluating body and approved by the scholarship committee.
For continuing students, the committee will award 10% of tuition fee to the most talented student; 15 % fee waiver to individual or teams that represent the university at regional level; 20% to teams or individuals who represent the university at national level and 30% to teams or individuals who represent the university at international level such as All Africa University Games and International University Sports Federation.
The AIU student recruitment team searches and taps talents straight from the high school, to identify the talented students and follow them up in their schools to make them an offer for student activities scholarships in the model mentioned above. Such students will be awarded a 75% of the tuition fees for the first semester, upon meeting the admission criteria.
With such an attractive scholarship package, you have no reason not to pursue your sporting dream and achieve academic milestones at the same time.