Abendanon’s home church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Suriname, had endorsed her to pursue her bachelor’s degree in the United States through the ELCA’s International Women Leaders (IWL) program.
Since graduating in May 2018, Abendanon has found work as a publications officer, started her own small business and volunteered her marketing skills to her church. She credits her Augsburg education as invaluable.
The scholarships continue for the duration of their bachelor’s degree programs. Thanks to the generosity of ELCA members during and after Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the ELCA, all the women’s expenses are covered.
“[This is] a type of scholarship that’s extremely rare these days,” said Kaleb Sutherland, director, International Leaders program for scholarship administration and student engagement.
“The idea is to remove any barriers for students to access this opportunity.”
She was endorsed by her home church, the Lutheran Church in Malaysia.
Sutherland noted that the ELCA designed IWL to accompany young women from ELCA companion churches in the hope that they would return to their communities and churches to pursue their vocations with confidence. Recent graduates such as Abendanon and Lee are thriving.