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The Deyda Hydara Scholarships

Dec 18, 2008, 4:15 AM

The Deyda Hydara Scholarships are now a reality. The Deyda Hydara Scholarships Committee under the auspices of the Deyda Hydara Trust (DHT) administers them. The committee is composed of Mr Ousman A. Ndow, immediate past chairman of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC); Mr Matarr Baldeh, country co-ordinator, Education for All Campaign Network, Gambia; and Mrs Yadicon-Njie Eribo, co-ordinator, Forum for Africa Women Educationalists Gambia Chapter (FAWEGAM). These are distinguished Gambians whose credibility is beyond reproach in society. They have decided to take up this responsibility as a further show of their commitment to serving humanity.

Taking up their responsibility with all seriousness, they have chosen five students to benefit from the scholarships, starting from the 2008/2009 academic year. They say these five students will be under the sponsorship of the Deyda Hydara Trust for the whole of their senior secondary school education. In selecting the scholars, they have looked at the needs and the academic potentialities of the students. Under the scholarships guidelines the committee has drawn up, another set of five students will be selected after three academic sessions to enjoy the scholarships.

The scholarships are funded with proceeds from A Living Mirror: The Life Of Deyda Hydara. As well as immortalising Deyda Hydara, the biography was conceived as a fundraising tool to project and sustain the ideals Deyda Hydara stood and died for. At the core of Deyda Hydara's life struggle was a consuming passion to undo the shackles of ignorance through the channels of journalism. As Deyda Hydara saw it, ignorance is the greatest impediment to advancement in life. Therefore on the path to achieving press freedom and freedom of expression in society, the people have to be first of all educated in basic literacy. After that, it becomes a lot easier to mobilise them for progress and prosperity.

The DHT will in the near future sponsor exceptionally promising journalists to study journalism at the degree level in an African university. It will also endow the Deyda Hydara Prize for Excellence in Journalism that the Gambia Press Union (GPU) is working on.

Deyda Hydara spent every waking moment of his life working for progress and a fulfilled life in every way. It is only fitting therefore that proceeds from his biography should be judiciously spent to carry on with those things that Deyda Hydara himself would have done if he were still alive. These scholarships will expand in the fullness of time to the benefit and enjoyment of Gambians in the spirit of education for all.

"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.