SCHOLARSHIPS provided by the IGNITE IGL Foundation to five students of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) have been hailed as 'golden' by Professor Minerva Thame, dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The UWI, Mona.
She was speaking at a scholarship presentation ceremony at the university on December 9, where the Razai Azard Rahaman Scholarships for Medicine were presented to MBBS students Briana Foster and Jeremiah Baker, and the IGL Legacy Scholarships for Nursing to Sheryllee Smith, Samantha Rufus and Britney Hay, who are pursuing the undergraduate degree programme at the School of Nursing.
Professor Thame said that the students were extremely grateful for the scholarships since prior to COVID-19 they were struggling with the continued devaluation of the Jamaican dollar which caused an increase in their school fees and the pandemic has made the situation worse when many parents lost their jobs.
“With these realities, scholarships like the IGNITE IGL are golden. I wish we had many more companies like IGL who contribute in this tangible way to the growth and development of our students,” she said.
Dr Dawn Munroe, head of the School of Nursing at The UWI, noted that the relationship between The UWI School of Nursing and IGL dates back to 2007, with the presentation of the first IGL Legacy Scholarship For Nursing.
“This scholarship for nursing like the gas that IGL is commonly associated with, continues to 'ignite' dreams and 'fuel' fulfillment,” she said.
Praising IGL for continuing to present scholarships despite the novel coronavirus pandemic in which many other companies have halted their programmes, Dr Munroe said, “by continuing to sponsor students' pursuits of nursing education, IGL is helping us to fulfil the PAHO/ WHO strategies for training and education of nurses and midwives, ultimately serving the life and livelihoods of nations”.
Dr Carl Bruce, medical chief of staff, University Hospital of the West Indies, said IGL's support for the hospital goes well beyond corporate citizenship. He thanked the company for coming to their assistance “by ensuring increased storage and supplies of medical oxygen and the scholarships to the UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences”.
IGL Managing Director Peter Graham noted that the scholarships are a continuation of a tradition begun by the IGNITE IGL Foundation a decade ago and are particularly timely during the pandemic “to not only acknowledge the value and contribution of our medical community but importantly, to ensure the sustainability of the professionals that keep us safe”.
Bevon Francis, chairman of IGL, said that the scholarship presentation ceremony was a very special occasion for the company as it attempts to pay it forward for the many gifted persons who without financial assistance could not earn a university degree.
“We know that as a developing nation Jamaica requires the highest calibre of graduates including doctors and nurses, with the skill sets essential to build a stronger society. Providing these scholarships not only supports our students but The UWI itself –—one of the region's most transformational institutions.”
Francis said that research has proven that the benefit of higher education goes beyond financial wins as in addition to being more gainfully employed, graduates are likely to be active citizens, lead healthier lifestyles and give back to their community. He noted that IGL has already seen this with previous IGNITE IGL scholars who have been volunteering in communities in and around the Spanish Town plant and nearby underserved communities.
“The IGNITE IGL scholarships are our contribution to lifting up an exceptional cadre of persons... our investment in a future generation of health sector workers for the benefit of Jamaica,” he declared.
Dr Samantha Mosha, now an intern at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, praised IGL and IGNITE IGL for the scholarship which she said was responsible for her “being where I am today”. Equally fulfilling for her, she said, was “the opportunity to combine a spiritual calling with my medical mission, working with the IGL teams in Riverton and other communities including presenting food packages and mentoring youth.”