A Second Chance in Life - Sisa's Story

Sisa Bhebhe came to Ireland from Zimbabwe in 2013 as an asylum seeker. In September 2018, Sisa was able to commence a degree in Accounting and Finance at DCU, thanks to a University of Sanctuary Scholarship supported by Ornua. In this piece she explains what this opportunity has meant to her.

“I am a big believer in the importance of being positive, no matter how negative the situation is. During my time in direct provision, I had lost self-esteem and I did wonder if I would be able to live a normal life and fulfil my career goals.

Although living in a direct provision centre was not easy, that did not stop me from wanting to pursue education. As a mother, I believe I have a duty to set an example for my children and this was part of my motivation. I wanted my children to see the importance of education and to understand that we are not defined by our circumstances.

In pursuit of this goal, I managed to complete an accounting technician course funded by the Irish Refugee Council in 2018. Getting there involved two buses and a two-hour journey each way but it was worth it.

Then, through talking with friends in Mosney who were part of the DCU MELLIE storytelling project, I heard about the University of Sanctuary scholarship and I decided to apply. When I found out I was selected for a scholarship I was over the moon, it meant so much to me. The University of Sanctuary scholarship has changed my life, I feel like I have been given a second chance in life. Not only do I study in one of the best universities but thanks to my scholarship, the financial burden has been lifted from my shoulders and I can focus on my course.

We also received other supports like a laptop and mobile phone through the University of Sanctuary, which are crucial for my studies. This means that I don’t have to go to the communal computer room in Mosney which is shared by adults and children with restricted hours.

My scholarship has given me hope and enabled me to dream again. I have been so humbled by Ornua’s support and interest in me – they are such a wonderful company. I am doing mentoring with Joe Collins, their Chief Risk Management Officer, and they have also given me an amazing opportunity to get meaningful work experience in their finance department this summer.


Words cannot explain how grateful I am for the support of DCU and Ornua. These scholarships have a very important impact on the lives of people who cannot access education due to financial constraints.”

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