“There’s no doubt in the fact that education provides stability in life, something that no one can ever take away from you. In Pakistan, Education has become one of the top priority and need of the hour over the last decade. With the literacy rate from 54.15 (2006) to 59.13 (2017), Pakistan is not only showing the growth in Education sector but also the trend that Education is becoming our top priority. Education alone can help us address the grave issues such as poverty, unemployment and most important of all, nation-building as it is the driver of the Social and Economic growth. USAID and Higher Education Commission Pakistan established the USAID – Funded Merit & Need Based Scholarship Program (MNBSP) for talented but financially constrained Pakistani students who could not otherwise afford to earn their degrees. MNBSP Funds full tuition scholarships and stipends for talented yet economically disadvantaged Pakistani youth to earn a Bachelor’s degrees at any of the partner universities across Pakistan. The scholarship covers the full tuition fee for the duration of the entire course of 2 Years Graduate & 4 Years Undergraduate program. Let’s have a look on some of the students who availed this unique opportunity and received the scholarship. Anum Naseem is from Hyderabad district of Sindh province. She secured her master’s degree in business administration from IBA-Karachi, which is one of the leading business schools of Pakistan with the assistance of USAID- funded Merit and Needs based Scholarship Program. She is currently working as a Project Manager in the IT sector and trains young professionals on business skills. While sharing her views about the woman empowerment, she stated, “I believe when women work, economies grow. No nation can progress if they are not given a prominent opportunity in various professional fields. I thank USAID and HEC for empowering me and making me what I am today!” Monika Andani belongs to a village Khanpur Mahar, which is located in Ghotki District of Northern Sindh. She completed her basic education at her village with a wish to secure a higher education degree some day from a reputable institution. To pursue her dream, she applied for USAID’s Merit & Needs Based Scholarship and successfully completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from IBA, Sukkur. She later moved to Karachi to secure her Masters degree(MBA), from SZABIST Karachi. After completing her MBA, she decided to join the banking sector. Currently she is working with Habib Bank in Karachi as Assistant Manager. While sharing her future goals, she added, “One of my career objectives is to become a financial advisor/ investor. Today whatever I’m, is just because of my parent’s and USAID.” BiBi Marjan is from the mountainous Gulmit, a small town of Hunza in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. She received her primary education from a local school in Gulmit. While talking about her dreams and future goals, she shared, “Despite all of the financial challenges we had, my father had always supported my dreams for higher education for which I feel so blessed.” She received her college education from Degree College in Aliabad, Hunza, which she mentioned was quite far from her native town. During her studies, she began teaching in a school to support her family especially for helping her younger siblings’ education. Marjan said that through the USAID’s Merit and Need Based Scholarship Program, she was able to secure admission in Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi and completed her Bachelors and Masters degree. “Today I feel so empowered and am looking forward to getting an MPhil degree.” says Marjan. Fariha Barkat Ali is from Issan Sharif, Sheikhupura, a native village near Lahore. She shared her story saying, “My family is not so educated and financially challenged. Despite that I received my initial education from my native town. My father always wanted to become a doctor himself but never could due to the financial constraints so he strongly supported my dream of becoming an MBBS doctor for which I feel so blessed.” She completed her graduation from Faisalabad Medical College with the help of USAID Merit and Needs Based Scholarship Program. Today, she proudly says that she’s a medical doctor by profession. Currently she is working as a House Officer in Allied Hospital Faisalabad and believes that this is all because of Allah’s blessings, her parents’ prayers, her hard work and the financial support she received through USAID and HEC. “As a doctor my aim is to serve humanity and treat patients with sympathy and especially during the current Covid outbreak when people need compassion and care from health workers like myself.” Fariha concluded.