Students On Gvnt’s Scholarship In Russia Living In Abject Poverty
Zimbabwean students in Russia through government scholarships have appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration to honor their financial obligations and ensure that the students lead better lives abroad.
Below is the full text by the students:
This scholarship is meant for underprivileged students like those who don’t have parents like us. Our Zim govt promised to take care of us but it’s not. The weather is more than harsh here, as I write the temperature is 20 degrees below zero and it’s only the start of winter.
We haven’t paid rentals and compulsory medical insurance. There’s no food to eat and warm shoes for this winter. We need money. In Russia, there is no excuse for I don’t have. Why would you promise us that you will take care of us whilst you do the exact opposite?
If you had told us the truth we wouldn’t have accepted this offer from the word go. Why are you making us suffer like this? Girls are now well known for selling their bodies for them to eat and many have actually stopped their studies because the situation is unbearable.
Boys are making shisha in Nightclubs to make ants meat and few unfortunate ones are being sodomised. The situation is terrible and it needs the government immediate response.
As students in Russia who came to study through the so-called the Zimbabwe-Russian Government bilateral scholarships, we say it’s over. We are tired of lies by the Zimbabwean government and its ministry. We have been patient enough to wait for what you promised.
You published that the government is going to clear the arrears by the end of January 2019, but up to now, you didn’t release any cent. We are starving here, and to my surprise, the government is continuing to call for applications to Russia.
Life in Russia is extremely expensive. On top of that, we are obliged to pay expenses like rent, medical insurance, visa and transport. In the first place, the government has promised to give each beneficiary a stipend of $3000 per year and they made every student sign the forms.
Why can’t you keep the promise? We have spent more than half a year without money making us more vulnerable to hunger and starvation, police arrests and deportation.
The Russians kept their promise, as they said in the contract that they will pay tuition fees and they’re doing so. We started a new semester & we need money for registration, hostel fees, medicals and visas and to cover arrears for the previous semester that we started without money.
PLEASE! WHY DID YOU BRING US HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE? WE COULD HAVE TAKEN OTHER OPPORTUNITIES, BUT YOU LIED TO US. WHEN WE SENT YOU EMAILS, YOU TOLD US TO ASK MONEY FROM OUR PARENTS, AND HOW DO YOU EXPECT A PARENT-LESS STUDENT TO BEG MONEY FROM NO-ONE.
As a Zimbabwean student studying in Russia, every day I have to choose whether to skip crucial lessons and go to work or sit in class with an empty stomach. Every day I face humiliation at the hands of the school authorities for unpaid rent.
Every day I face humiliation at the hands of the school authorities for unpaid rent. Every day I wonder how I will be able to pay hospital bills if I get sick because I can’t afford medical aid. Our government has completely abandoned its responsibilities.
We live and study at the mercy of the Russian government. As graduation day approaches we are faced with a mountain of arrears accumulated over 5 years because of our government. All we want is for our government to grow a conscience. We try to be good ambassadors of our country.
However every time my stomach growls in class from hunger and every time people see me in tattered clothes, my country’s name is soiled.
The president visited Russia and as a father, we believed he would not come to see his children with open hands. Did I just say see, he even insisted on seeing only student representatives, shall we talk of closed arms too. He had a tight schedule, I understand.
The President promised he has availed something for us and starting January we would receive some money for the upkeep, The Minister of Finance was there agreeing that they do have something ready for us. We couldn’t be any happier, I for one was bubbling with joy!
The ZBC broadcasted that the students have been given their money. That’s assuring our parents with false hope. Now they followed a series of excuses; “the officials who are supposed to bring the money are waiting for their visas and will be coming next week.”
It’s now the third week, we are still waiting. Next week surely never arrives.
In 2016/17 academic year, we didn’t receive anything and we are being told let’s leave the past into the past. I am a student, in a foreign land and not allowed to work.
How can I forget that 2016/17 I wasn’t given anything when the debt I incurred is still there? We are simply asking the government to honour its end. We write, we call but it all has been futile.
As John Gottman would say, “Trust between the govt & its citizens is built in 2 ways; transparency through action. Follow through on your promises, the opposite erodes trust”. I will rest my case & hope our whispered shout falls on listening ears, listening govt & a listening President.
We are suffering here.
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