Zimbabwean students studying in Russia say the government has failed to pay them their stipends and they are now facing starvation. “At the start of every academic year we need about $500 to renew our paperwork.
But for a year now, we have not been given anything,” one of the students told The Standard. “We are supposed to get $3 000, but ever since I came here we have not received enough money and they don’t pay the balance of what they owe us.
To make matters worse, the cost of living in Russia has risen, with almost all medical insurers doubling their fees, visa included.” The students said medical insurance was this year increased from $130 to $300, making it difficult for them to get medical over.
One student said she had been forced to go into prostitution in order to survive.
“I am not proud to say this, but last night my foreign friend forced me to sleep with her client to cover for my stay in her apartment. It pained me because I never imagined myself sleeping with men to survive,” she said.
“The reason I applied for this scholarship is because I am from a poor family and I am an orphan. This is a full scholarship and the government is supposed to give us stipends every year to survive.” The student said Russia had strict laws that prevented foreign students from working. “If you are caught [working] they deport you,” she said.
But deputy Higher and Tertiary Education minister Godfrey Gandawa has insisted that government had paid the students. “The money was sent to the students, including [those in] Russia last week. although there were challenges, they received the money,” Gandawa said.
“Egypt and Russia students I am informed got their stipends on August 4. If there is a student who hasn’t received it, I will be glad to know. I actually got a confirmation from one of the students in Russia.”
Culled from My Zimbabwe.