Commemorating 10 Years: Scholarship Program Reaches Landmark
Updated: Mar 18
People familiar with the International Consulting Aid Network (ICAN) recognize it only as an international humanitarian organization helping impoverished people across African and Caribbean countries. However, for many children, ICAN’s name is much more than a humanitarian organization. It paves the way in reaching educational and career goals that otherwise would have been inaccessible to them.
ICAN Scholarship Program was instituted in Birmingham, Alabama in 2011 for entering first-year students pursuing high school and college education. Now reaching its 10th anniversary, “the program has impacted many lives, with 300 scholarships awarded so far. It was and continues to be funded by Dr. Hugues Fidele Batsielilit, Founder and CEO of ICAN.
A public health specialist and philanthropist working across African and Caribbean countries, Dr. Batsielilit has managed the program since its inception. Modeled after other ICAN programs, the scholarship has grown to be a generous and prolific opportunity offered to underprivileged children across several African and Caribbean countries to emphasize ICAN’s preeminence in these regions.
Currently, ICAN scholars are funded up to USD 10,000 per year for a maximum of four years for first-year recipients and three years for graduate students. Since its establishment, 80 percent of underprivileged children accepted into the program are first-generation students—meaning the first generation in their family to attend high school or college.
Focused on students who have academic potential but cannot attend high school or college due to a lack of financial means, the program’s funding and mentoring models create an avenue that enables students to overcome tremendous obstacles and limitations and help usher them into their future.
“Many students in the program are in a situation where they either would not have gone to high school or college because it was financially impossible. Their parents could not afford long years of school fees or college tuition. ICAN organization focus on these children, with the hope, and as seen by results, that their lives will be transformed,” informed Dr. Batsielilit.
From one individual’s extraordinary generosity to help underprivileged children, lives are changed in extraordinary ways, and not just for the children but also other members of their family as well.
The effects have far greater reach. “This has had both direct and indirect positive impact because we lifted a financial burden off of them and, hopefully, contributed to a brighter future outcome,” Dr. Batsielilit said.
As a new school year unfolds, full of hope and success, so does a new cohort of ICAN scholars—10 new students in total this year—ready to tackle the next chapter of their academic journey.
A journey that might not have become reality if not for the desire of Dr. Hugues Fidele Batsielilit, who committed 10 years ago, to create opportunities where poverty would otherwise live. A goal recognized and appreciated by students and parents alike.
According to them, “It is an example of the ability of human beings to give, this donor’s actions have taken that to a level that is extraordinary.” “His commitment is helping poor children break out of a cycle that prevented them from unleashing their full potential. What an incredible way to give back.”
Program Coordinator, Africa at International Consulting Aid Network (ICAN)