U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella officially launched the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) on Thursday, July 2, 2020. VisionFiji, a local NGO focused on children’s welfare, received a grant of FJ$70,328 (US$32,409) to manage the two-year program for 24 teenagers residing in the settlement of Wakanisila, on the outskirts of Suva. This is the first Access program ever to be held in the Pacific.
U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella said, “Children are the most precious part of our future. We are delighted to be able to launch the Access program for the first time in the Pacific. We are confident by the end of the program the students’ English proficiency will be strong enough to help them attain their goals.”
The U.S. Embassy Suva hosted the students, their parents, teachers, and community leaders from Wakinisila and VisionFiji staff to celebrate the launch of the Access Program on July 2, 2020. The program will begin on July 6 observing all COVID-19 mitigation protocols. Ambassador Cella presented the students with certificates and supplies to aid them in their studies. The Access program in Fiji will employ trained local English teachers to guide the 24 girls and boys through a supplemental English course while learning life skills and participating in cultural activities.
Access provides a foundation of English language skills to bright, economically disadvantaged students, primarily between the ages of 13 to 20, in their home countries. Access programs give participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 150,000 students in more than 80 countries have participated in the Access Program.