Actor David Oyelowo (Selma, Queen of Katwe) is giving back to three Nigerian girls to continue their education. This week, he announced of a scholarship in his name starting this year. The David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship stems from Oyelowo’s close partnership with the GEANCO Foundation, an LA-based non-profit organization committed to transforming health and education in Africa.
The three scholarships will cover full tuition for one year (including room and board and summer tutoring) for three females who have been exposed to terrorism and gender inequality to attend Nigeria’s Anglican Girls Grammar School beginning in September. It’s the same school Oprah Winfrey generously donated $100,000 to in Oyelowo’s honor in 2015 through GEANCO to provide the school with educational supplies, a brand new computer lab and water filtration system among other additional support. He told the Hollywood Reporter,
The new scholarship will directly impact young girls lives who have been devastatingly impacted by acts of terror and gender inequality and so hopefully it’s a place to put that frustration instead of just becoming more and more numb to the terrible things we’re seeing in the world at the moment.
Oprah Winfrey is the scholarship’s major seed funder. Oyelowo expressed that being of Nigerian descent, along with raising a 4-year-old daughter of his own (as well as three sons), has shaped his perspective in wanting to help provide opportunities for her and all girls. His daughter also inspired him to join Lupita Nyongo in Queen of Katwe, a film which spotlights the game of chess and boasts a significant message for young women.
Queen of Katwe, I did that as a love letter to my daughter because in that I play a coach to an 11-year-old girl who sells corn on the streets of Kampala [Uganda] who would never otherwise go on to be a chess champion if she didn’t have mentoring and if she didn’t have someone somewhere who believed in her and took the time to mentor her towards her dream. That’s such a beautiful true story to me. We all need those.