The Indiana Conference has an impressive history of support and involvement with Africa University, a United Methodist-related university located in Zimbabwe near the city of Mutare. Each of the former Indiana conferences built two residence halls for which the students continue to be grateful. Many Hoosier Volunteers in Mission work teams have gone to visit and help build staff housing, work in the AU library and assist in other ways.

The current emphasis of the Friends of Africa University is maintaining and increasing scholarship support for students at AU, which continues to be a critical need for the higher education of African students.

Each of the former conferences endowed two scholarships that continue to assist four or more students each year. Currently, these scholarships are held by a first-year agriculture student from Nigeria, a first-year student in the humanities also from Nigeria, a first-year student in humanities from Angola and two students from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are enrolled in intensive English, which is required of students who do not speak English before enrollment in regular classes.

Some individual congregations also sponsor entire scholarships for one or more years at $5,400 for each year. These are known as Ushawira Scholarships, the name comes from a Shona word meaning “special friendship.” These churches include the members of Lafayette Trinity, who support Cambuta Catarino, a student in Management and Administration; Wabash First who support Francine Illunga Mpanga Mufuk and Matemb Kaj Benedict, students, in Humanities and Social Sciences, Plainfield and Carmel St. Mark’s UMC.

Other numerous Indiana congregations send various amounts of money for Direct Scholarship assistance. Students currently supported in this way include students Frederico Roberto Armando from Angola, Christian Wuo Zigbuo from Liberia; Kita Mutwale Jean from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kasongo Ngoy Sebastien, also from the DRC. All of these students are studying Management and Administration.

Roberto and his brother are both currently at AU. Roberto says having the scholarship motivates him to work hard to make good use of the donors’ money.

Judith Tafisu, one of the students supported by an endowed scholarship says she hopes to become a journalist or a newscaster. She credits Africa University with giving her the opportunity to fulfill this plan.

Catarino Cambuta, supported by St. Andrews UMC, says this scholarship has blessed her enormously, transformed her life and helped her develop strong managerial skills. She thanks the church and the Indiana Conference for investing in her education.

All of these students rely on the continuing support of Indiana churches to help provide leaders in the churches, schools, government and businesses of Africa in the future. As Catarino said, these gifts will be important to and bless her nation. They also will bless the givers, no doubt.

For those wishing to be involved, please send money for Africa University scholarships through your church treasurer marked for Africa University Direct Student Scholarship.

Ruth Ellen Stone is a member of the Friends of Africa University. For more information about this scholarship program, contact her at

The current emphasis of the Friends of Africa University is maintaining and increasing scholarship support for students at AU…