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The Future of Scholarships

The Future of Scholarships
The Future of Scholarships

The Future of Scholarships: from Somaliland to Switzerland and Beyond

For over 30 years we have been honoured to welcome scholars at Aiglon. Doors have been opened with the generous support of our community. In fact 50% of scholarship funding is gathered through philanthropy, while the remaining half is invested by Aiglon from its operating surplus since this cause is so dear to us. 

Not only is our community enabling the gifting of an Aiglon education to very promising students, but also the presence of these students enriches the Aiglon experience for all, making Aiglon increasingly culturally diverse, with graduating students going on to become change-makers.    

Finding our scholars is a complex process where we greatly value the support of our partner institutions, based across the world from Asia to Africa, to guide us to the right candidates. 

We continue striving to strengthen our relationships with partner institutions so that as our Scholarship Committee member and Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Karen Sandri has expressed “as a whole school, we can embed philanthropy into the curriculum and give back to the wider community, not just the one student who receives a scholarship award.” 

Karen has just returned from visiting our phenomenal partner institution Abaarso School in Somaliland where she and our Deputy Director, Tom Duckling, had inspiring conversations with potential scholars, and also met with the esteemed Aiglon alumnus Ali Egal (Alpina, 1971) whose father was the respected President of Somaliland in the 90s. 

The school’s mission statement emphasises the life changing power that education holds:
We believe in nurturing the academic, intellectual and character development of promising Somalilander boys and girls so that they can effectively and ethically advance their society as the leaders of tomorrow.

Founded in 2009, Abaarso is a boarding school for 7th - 12th grade students. Later in 2017, the Abaarso network opened Barwaaqo University as the first ever boarding university for women in Somaliland. Barwaaqo offers teacher training for Somalilaner women so they can have careers and gain financial and social independence. 

The first primary school - Kaabe School - was opened by Abaarso in 2019. Kaabe provides jobs for Barwaaqo graduates. Essentially therefore they have created an intelligent self-sustaining and scalable system that prompts homegrown Solmalilander talent and empowers women.

Karen has enthusiastically expressed that the “students we met were motivated, articulate and had a real desire to promote the common good within their communities. There was a real sense that a bright future lay ahead, that their future would be better than the previous generation. My interaction with these young people left me feeling hopeful and humbled at their strength and determination.”
The trip was so striking that Karen made it the focus of her very first meditation delivered this week to our senior students. One of our two current scholars who came to us from Abaarso was in the audience and approached Karen afterwards beaming because he was so happy to see his country - which to this day is not accepted as a sovereign state in its own right - in the spotlight. 

Our first Abaarso scholar will be graduating from Aiglon this year and is now securing a university place, while it has been noted that the other “is busy trying everything and anything Aiglon has to offer. Today he did the skateboarding activity, and tomorrow he will try swimming. This attitude does not only relate to activities, the other day he tried a Kiwi for the first time!”

Overall, we are actively working to widen our Aiglon scholarship offering so that we can invite even more scholars like these to Aiglon in the near future. This year we have 13 fully funded scholars. Next year we will increase to 17 scholars, and by the 2024 intake we hope to reach 20. 

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