Aviation industry opportunities beckon for underprivileged kids . . . First Lady’s foundation to roll out scholarships First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa welcomes Mr Seth Van Beek, one of the youngest Zimbabwean commercial pilots who partnered her Angel of Hope Foundation to uplift talented Zimbabweans through aviation and engineering scholarships at Zimbabwe House yesterday. - Picture: John Manzongo.

Tendai Rupapa-Senior Reporter

ACADEMICALLY-gifted children from humble backgrounds will soon have opportunities to penetrate the lucrative aviation industry courtesy of a unique and life transforming scholarship programme to be administered by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Angel of Hope Foundation to empower the country’s youths.

Beneficiaries will be learning through leading aviation schools in Europe.

Spearheaded by Mr Seth Van Beek (22), one of the youngest commercial pilots and a Zimbabwean based in United Kingdom, the rollout of the scholarships is slated for early next year and will offer beneficiaries opportunities to train as pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants and engineers.

Commercial pilots fly charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting missions, crop dusting flights, and take aerial photographs. They often have additional duties that include scheduling flights and aircraft maintenance.

The awarding of the scholarships by European flight schools, shows just how the First Lady has captured the imagination of the world with her empowerment initiatives, prompting other citizens to want to lend a hand in her efforts to empower the motherland.

Yesterday, Mr Van Beek paid a courtesy call on the First Lady and gave a glimpse into what the scholarship programme entails.

“I have come to have a meeting with Amai, our mother the First Lady in regards to the future of the aviation industry within Zimbabwe as a whole and the start of a scholarship programme through the Angel of Hope Foundation,” he said. 

“We have decided that in the New Year we will be launching the scholarship programme whereby we will be funding training for students from 16 years up whereby we will be providing scholarships for them to train to be pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, engineers. 

“We are looking to push towards the empowerment and indigenisation of the aviation industry in Zimbabwe as a whole and also supporting the President’s Vision 2030.”

Mr Van Beek, himself a person who rose from a humble background, said he sought to prove that with determination, everything was possible.

“We are in to provide services which should be like none other and the first of its kind to empower the youths of Zimbabwe for the rest of the world to know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” he said. 

“I would like to thank Amai for sharing her time with me today and allowing me the opportunity to share this with her. We will be working and partnering with some of the leading aviation schools and universities in Europe as well to provide a stellar service to the people and providing outstanding training stellar in quality for the people of Zimbabwe to ensure that our aviation industry is one of the leading industries globally.” 

Mr Van Beek disclosed why he saw it prudent to partner the mother of the nation.

“We decided to work with the Angel of Hope Foundation due to a multitude of reasons. It’s great to see what Amai is doing in regards to the Angel of Hope Foundation and the scholarship programmes she is already providing and this is why we decided to work with Amai thus supporting her vision,” he said.

“Working with her, using her network, experience and the Angel of Hope Foundation, will mean empowerment of the less-privileged children, that is our aim and target. We seek to provide an opportunity to change their lives and future generations.” 

In her remarks, the First Lady thanked Mr Van Beek and his working partners for the kind gesture. She implored would-be beneficiaries to take advantage of the scholarships to transform their lives and those of generations to come.

“Today I welcomed one of the youngest commercial pilots in our country, who is trained and also tied to so many airlines internationally,” she said.

“He has brought this to me and my foundation that they want to train local students from the ages of 16 to be pilots, engineers, flight attendants, to be in the whole aviation system. 

“He has brought this to the Angel of Hope Foundation that is where the children will come from. Because of his humble background which he has shared with me, this has brought him back home to help others. 

“He is Zimbabwean-born and has a story to tell and I am saying to the would-be students, the opportunity you get, you cannot let it go. 

“We will start recruiting soon through Angel of Hope. The moment you hear about this please bring your application form. This is another way for you to develop yourself. This is youth empowerment so that one becomes self-sustainable, he/she can sustain himself/herself and family.” 

Dr Mnangagwa said both boys and girls will benefit from the scholarship.

“We don’t forget where we came from all of us and this is what Mr Van Beek has done. 

“I want to thank my son for thinking of Angel of Hope Foundation, The scholarships will involve both the girl child, the boy child. All what we want is your change of mindset that you are now going into this, starting your own life without leaning against somebody so this is a life-changing opportunity that came through Angel of Hope Foundation,” she said.

The scholarship dovetails with the First Lady’s spirit of transforming the lives of people through education, awareness programmes and projects.

Already there are many people studying overseas through scholarships from her trailblazing Angel of Hope Foundation.

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