Scholarship winners take up their places

13 September 2013

Professor Pamela Gillies with the four GCCN graduates

Professor Pamela Gillies with the four GCCN graduates

Four outstanding graduates from the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing (GCCN) in Bangladesh have arrived to continue their studies and take up scholarships at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

Travelling more than 5000 miles, Rokeya Akter Bristy, Popi Rani Bhowmik, Satu Mondal and Rafiqun Nesa will enter the final year of the BSc Nursing course, having completed a Diploma in Nursing and Midwifery from GCCN.

The Principal’s scholarships were granted to the top three students, Rokeya, Popi and Satu, at the inaugural graduation ceremony in March where they were delighted to hear the news that full financial support, including accommodation, would be provided.

The fourth scholarship was supported by a charitable gift from Bangladeshi-native business leader Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic, Inc., a global medical technology company.

To become the fourth student in the program, Rafiqun won an essay writing competition to accompany Professor Yunus to the Global Social Business Summit in Vienna, where she addressed an audience of world-leaders resulting in an offer of a scholarship. Rafiqun, from the small rural village Rangamati, said: “There are no words to express how excited we are. This is a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to the year ahead.”

Arriving on campus, they were given a warm welcome by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Gillies CBE.

She said: “I was delighted to welcome our new Scholarship students from the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing. They have already overcome many challenges and obstacles as part of the landmark first graduating class from the college and have left Bangladesh with warm words of support from Chancellor Yunus. Now they will continue to blaze a trail during the course of their studies in Scotland. I am sure these brave and inspirational young women will benefit immensely from the opportunity we have provided for them to join our University community.”

Placed first in her class, Rokeya is adjusting to the “cold weather” and hopes to achieve her childhood dream of working in the medical field and helping others. She said: "The Scholarship has dramatically changed my life and I’m looking forward to the year ahead and to see how nursing is taught in the UK. It is a great opportunity to learn different types of nursing care and bring new skills to Bangladesh with the hope of improving nursing.”

The founding Principal of the Nursing College and Director of Global Health Development at GCU, Professor Barbara Parfitt, CBE, said: “We are enormously proud of all our students and the opportunity afforded to these four women is due to the support we receive from the University, Professor Yunus and business leaders. As these four women embark on their new journey, we hope they will have a rewarding experience while bringing the best of nursing back to their communities as we strive to continually improve nursing standards throughout Bangladesh.”

The students are all children of Grameen borrowers, the worldwide micro-lending initiative established by Noble Laureate and Chancellor of GCU Professor Muhammad Yunus, who is dedicated to alleviating poverty.