The International Peace Scholarship was awarded to Texas Woman’s University master’s student Elizabeth Timothy for the second year in a row.
The scholarship is provided by the Philanthropic Educational Organization, and the scholarship awards funds to women from countries outside of the United States and Canada for graduate study in North America. The scholarship gives Timothy $5,500, and it covers all of her tuition and fees.
“It’s a huge break, because when you are in a foreign country and you don’t get a full scholarship, you are not sure what will happen,” Timothy said. “I don’t have to worry about tuition and fees, and that is huge for me.”
Timothy was born and raised in Kenya by a single mother in a family of nine. She was able to go to college and earn a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in development from St. Paul’s University, Kenya. She then started a project in her community alongside her family that provides funding for girls with academic integrity for their college education.
“We pulled together as brothers and sisters,” Timothy said. “We had to keep striving to earn our education, to look for ways to work, and then give back to the community.”
The program has been recruiting since 2010, and it first started by helping her husband’s family. Her husband was the only child out of eight that attended college.
“I was married into a community where illiteracy was very deep,” Timothy said. “We just thought we need to begin with extended family, and then we can expand to the outside community, especially where my husband was born and raised.”
Timothy also runs another project that helps women in Kenya that need financial support. She raises funds to allow them to start small businesses to help pay for necessities for their families.
“I felt the only way to empower young children in high school and in college is not just by paying fees,” Timothy said. “At home, they lack food, they lack water, they lack clinical health, and these women are left with them as their mothers. I felt through this program that the best way we can fully support children is by also empowering their mothers.”
Timothy is currently studying multicultural women’s and gender studies as a graduate student at TWU. She studied women and gender along with international development back home, where she would study how to improve the lives of the underserved.
“I would develop training manuals or materials for the community to recruit women leaders in the rural areas,” Timothy said. “I would train them through our division and through compassionate intermission. That is what led me to do the development courses. I felt that I needed to work with women in the community. The more work I did, the more I felt that way.”
Timothy is currently debating whether she wants to go to doctoral school for her PhD. She and her husband also have plans to build a primary school in Kenya along with a training center for women to develop skills in producing food and managing their lifestyles.
“We are looking forward to it and we have been working towards that,” Timothy said. “We have already secured the land, and we are already trying to come up with some classes, so that when we decide to go home we are ready. It is a long- term thing that we are already working on little by little.”
Timothy said she is happy to have been awarded the scholarship for the second year in a row, and that she will continue to empower the women around her.
“My prayer is that I will also be able to give back to another poor lady who is maybe poorer than me and try to touch those lives.”
Laura Pearson can be reached via email at email@example.com