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Graduation success for inspiring Rwandan academic

14 Dec 2016

A Rwandan who was awarded a place at the University thanks to our international scholarship programme has graduated with an MSc in Medical Microbiology

Jean D'Amour Mutoni

Jean D’Amour Mutoni was given the opportunity to study in the UK thanks to the University’s Equity and Merit scheme, which assists talented, disadvantaged students from some of the world’s poorest countries.

Having survived the Genocide of the 1990s, the thirty-year-old went on to gain a degree from the University of Rwanda.

He was crowned the winner of the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health 2016 Postgraduate Distinguished Achievement Award, and set up his own Queen’s Award-winner not-for-profit organisation in his home country.

In addition to this, he can now add a master’s degree with distinction to his list of achievements and will now use his experience to inspire others and improve teaching in his home country.

Described as a ‘truly inspiring individual’ who ‘gives to others so readily and unconditionally’, the father of two temporarily left his family behind in order to further his career, but now plans to return to the East African country where he will resume his role as lecturer of Medical Microbiology at the University of Rwanda.

He’s already founded a charity back home called Acts of Gratitude which fosters a culture of ‘giving back’, and is planning to use the academic and networking experience he gained at Manchester to help young, unemployed Rwandans to get started in business while giving back to their communities.

Jean’s research study resulted in the  introduction of new standards governing how lab work is carried out back in Rwanda.

“Manchester has really lived up to all of my expectations and I really enjoyed my course,” said Jean. “My tutors were so kind and helpful and have inspired me to replicate these attitudes to my students once back in Rwanda.

“When I return home, I hope to share many skills in disease diagnosis, laboratory organisation and research using student-centred approaches, such as the ones I experienced at the University. Furthermore, a friend and I, in collaboration with some faculty members, are hoping to launch a continuing professional development (CPD) programme for biomedical professionals that would extend the collaboration between Manchester and Rwanda.

“My scholarship will always be one of the defining moments of my life. I was blessed to receive this once-in-a-lifetime gift and hope to pass on the benefits of it to others. I plan to use the knowledge and skills I have gained to teach, conduct research, and exercise leadership in high-level institutions in Rwanda.”

Senior International Officer Joanne Jacobs heads up the Equity and Merit scholarship programme at the University. “We are thrilled to have been able to offer Jean an Equity and Merit scholarship which allowed him to study for his masters here in Manchester,” she said. “We received more than 100 applications but Jean stood out on the basis of his clear commitment to using the opportunity to make a difference to the health sector in his home country.

“I have never met anyone so inspiring, who can turn any problem into a positive learning experience and gives to others so readily and unconditionally,” said Carol Yates, Director of Postgraduate Taught Education in the School of Medical Sciences. “He’s a brilliant role model who has succeeded thanks to hard work and dedication, and it’s great to see that he is committed to filling the skills gap in Rwanda as he returns to his job as a lecturer with lots of enthusiasm to train others.”

If you are interested in supporting Equity and Merit scholarships, please visit the donation page. If you would like to consider funding a full scholarship, email supporters@manchester.ac.uk or call 0161 306 3066.

For more information, visit the Equity and Merit site or Facebook.