If there is a single word that sums up the Foundation for Global Scholars, it is ‘evolution.’ In 2015, FGS evolved its mission and vision, introducing the GRIT Program and changing from a scholarship-only program for college students to a leadership and scholarship organization for 18-30 year olds. But even before this year, FGS has been an organization in transition, constantly evolving to meet the needs of those we serve.
Traditionally, this group that we serve has been millennial-aged scholars in the United States. But a few years ago, an idea was proposed by Shelia Houston, FGS Founding Director and partner of GlobaLinks Learning Abroad. Shelia, a resident of Queensland, Australia and passionate advocate for access to education, had spent years visiting a remote village in Fiji called Sote Village. The village has a primary school up to year 8, but schooling beyond that requires extensive daily travel or relocation to a boarding school. Either of these scenarios is too costly for the majority of the people in Sote Village.
Shelia proposed the idea of FGS creating a scholarship for one student in Sote Village per academic year that supported that student’s attendance at a boarding school for four years through the completion of their secondary education. Although this scholarship was different than any charitable activity FGS had participated in, the team and board of directors recognized the meaningful impact that this relatively small amount of money could make on one individual’s life, and that of his or her family, and thus the whole village. Now in its second year of operation, the Fiji Changemaker Scholarship has funded two Fijian students to complete the final four years of their secondary education.
“These children now have an education that will benefit their lives, the lives of their family and the lives of the people in the village,” says Shelia. “We don’t know what accomplishments these children might make in the years to come but through the education we are providing, the possibilities are endless.”
FGS is proud to be part of a dedicated effort to offer educational opportunities around the world, and grateful to have a board member with the vision and passion to make this happen.