Inaugural Rita Marley Foundation scholarships awarded
Three tertiary students have been chosen by the Rita Marley Foundation (RMF) as the first recipients of the inaugural Rita Marley Scholarship, launched in honour of her 75th birthday on July 25.
The recipients are Esther Williams, Toni-Ann Howard, and Karesha Dixon.
They were selected from a sea of candidates via an online application portal on the Foundation’s website and will each receive a bursary towards furthering their education this academic year.
As the foundation’s first set of awardees for this scholarship, these ladies are a realization of its vision to empower Jamaican women.
The RMF was established to assist those who experience the challenges of accessing higher education in the nation’s lower socioeconomic divisions.
This scholarship is particularly important to Rita Marley, who was herself a nurse prior to segueing into entertainment alongside her late husband. It specifically targeted two women pursuing careers in nursing and a single mother who experienced teenage pregnancy.
The aim is to provide not only monetary support but also a glimmer of hope along their journeys. The University of the West Indies (UWI) senior, Esther Williams, is currently in her fourth year of nursing school at the Mona campus.
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Toni-Ann Howard is now in her sophomore year in the UWI School of Nursing (UWISON) program at Knox Community College in Manchester.Karesha Dixon, who just entered her freshman year at Excelsior Community College, and the other awardees are grateful for the added push to succeed.
They officially received the scholarship in a private meet and greet hosted by the Foundation. On receiving the award, Dixon was overcome with emotion.
Howard shared that she is elated for the opportunity to be granted the scholarship, thanks to the Rita Marley Foundation. Williams echoed the sentiment, dubbing herself a proud recipient and sharing that: ‘It will go a long way in offsetting my tuition expenses.
’Rita Marley, who is the founder and chairperson of the eponymous foundation, and her daughter, Cedella Marley, sent heart-warming messages to the inaugural awardees.
‘I congratulate these young women on their achievements thus far, and I am grateful to now be a part of their continuing mission to educate and empower themselves,’ ‘Mama Marley’ expressed. Her daughter’s message touched on the necessity of a strong community to support and uplift Jamaica’s youth.
‘This is a difficult season for many,’ Cedella shared. ‘We’ve seen how much the pandemic affects parents, we understand the anxiety of the students and the general energy of uncertainty that surrounds education at this time, which is why we had to find a way to assist.
’The Rita Marley Foundation plans to continue its mandate to motivate and uplift financially challenged youth in developing countries for many years to come.
‘We all have a duty to be there for each other,’ Cedella Marley affirmed. ‘We should look out for those who have the drive and skills but may need a helping hand to keep going. We are very proud of this scholarship and pleased to be able to assist these three young women.
’The Rita Marley Foundation is supported by funds from donors and collaborators, working towards alleviating poverty for people of developing and less developed countries.
Source: Three young women receive help with tuition to further their education first published in LOOP Jamaica