Over the past three years, the CERI Academic Support Fund has afforded CERI Moldova the opportunity to help young and aspiring beneficiaries as they strive to achieve their higher education goals. The funds dispersed through this important initiative cover students’ school fees, tuition, books, and other expenses directly related to their academic journey. Recently, on September 12th CERI Moldova staff met to review another round of applications from hopeful youth. In addition to meeting certain criteria, each youth is required to demonstrate that they qualify for the educational grants. A committee, comprised of CERI staff, community leaders, and the youths’ teachers, interviewed the applicants to evaluate their performance, motivation and level of need. Youth applying for assistance for the first time were unsure what to expect and appeared at times visibly nervous and hesitant – a marked difference from those reapplying, who came to the interviews focused and confident.
Despite their demeanor, each applicant brought with them their own personal letter of motivation, a requirement of the application process. It is these letters that truly reveal the needs, goals, and ambitions of the youth served through this fund.
For instance, Viorel, one of the applicants, expressed in his letter that he needed assistance to cover his annual tuition. Not an uncommon request, but what really touched the staff is his desire to study Social Work with the intent and purpose of helping other people and children in need! Esther, a young lady studying accounting at a local university, wrote: “My plan is to become a senior accountant by the time I finish the university. I want to work for more than one company in order to make good money and help those in need. I really want to become a good professional and praise God through what I do.” After the interviews, a few applicants were asked to share their experiences of the application process and how they felt their interview went. Ecaterina shared, “This is my second time. The first time was much harder. Now I feel better about it. The questions were easy and I was more confident answered them.” First time applicant Valentina felt that the process was hard but worth it, revealing, “This was my first time in front of a committee. I was nervous and the questions were quite challenging.”
In the end, all six applicants were awarded grants – each receiving a different amount according to their need. CERI is thankful to everyone who has made this possible by contributing to the CERI Academic Support Fund over the years. It is a great privilege to grant these Moldovan youth, all orphaned and economically disadvantaged, another chance at pursuing their dreams and goals!