Not too long ago one of my best students from Myanmar asked me for a letter of recommendation in order to apply for a scholarship with an organization that she found. That is nothing too unusual since University fees here are quite high and less fortunate students need to find a way to finance it. While some of them might get a scholarship from University it is likely that those scholarships will only cover 25 – 50% of the fees and expenses. The rest needs to be covered by other means.
There are several organisations out there that help students to do so but lately I came across a somewhat new organization. Zomia.
Zomia contacted me saying that one of my students applied with my letter of recommendation and they would like to publish parts of my letter on their website under my student’s profile in order to make her ‘shine in a bright light’.
According to Zomia’s official website they are a “SPC – Social Purpose Corporation” which was launched in 2014 in order to increase access to higher education among students in marginalized communities.
“We do so principally by facilitating affordable student loans, engaging a virtual community in a peer-to-peer process that connects students in need with lenders around the world.”
In order to connect students with lenders each potential student that is being selected receives a profile page on zomia with quotes of their professors and a Q&A with the students themselves. The lenders then can see who they want to support and base their decision on their impression on the zomia.org website.
While this is no rocket science and not a completely new approach it is interesting to see that it seems to slowly start to work and therefore I am curious to see where it will take the students and the team of zomia.org – Any organization that enables students to pursue their goal for higher education deserves support. So check out zomia.org and support students here in Southeast Asia.