Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has received overwhelming responses to the scholarship program it introduced four years ago, despite the country remaining conservative on LGBTIQA+ rights.
Michelle Ruhonde, diversity officer at GALZ, said the organisation has received much interest from the community since the inception of the Munhu Munhu (‘a person is a person despite sexuality’) scholarship.
“We have managed to support eight students, all from state universities,” Ruhonde told Pink Advocate.
“The organisation has been supporting two members per year since 2018 but from 2022 will be supporting three members.”
She said that some prospective beneficiaries want the scholarship to extend to more degree programmes.
“There have been concerns raised over the disciplines under support that is humanities, law, governance by students who have programmes that are not being supported by the scholarship such as engineering, arts, finance amongst others,” said Ruhonde.
“There is also a large number of community members who also have a desire to start undergraduate but have no resources to start.
“We currently do not have the resources to support this group at the moment.
“We also have a few members that have requested O Level support, and we have room to support basic education.
“GALZ desires to secure more resources to increase the number of scholarships in a year.”
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must identify as LGBTIQA+ and be aged between 18 and 35 years.
They must be enrolled in a Zimbabwe state university and have successfully completed first-year studies in any of the specified disciplines.
Students with disabilities and those who have dropped out due to their orientation or gender and would like to continue with their studies are also encouraged to apply.
GALZ could not disclose the names of any previous scholarship recipients due to its strict non-disclosure policy to ensure students are safe.
Discrimination at campuses still worrying
LGBTIQA+ students at tertiary institutions continue to suffer abuse.
“Whilst there have not been any reported cases recorded on violence, stigma, and discrimination of scholarship recipients, LGBTIQA+ students succumb to violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexuality,” said Ruhonde.
“Much of the violations and how they impact on LGBTIQA+ learners is available in the Campus Climate survey of 2019 which was conducted by GALZ in tertiary institutions, showing the lived experiences of LGBTIQA+ students on campus.”