Acknowledging the academic merit of forty young people is the main purpose of the scholarships awarded by the Galp Foundation, which in 2022 once again took part in the EPIS (Entrepreneurs for Social Inclusion) Social Scholarships initiative with support amounting to € 100,000. During the official ceremony, which took place on 18 January in the Galp Auditorium at the Torres de Lisboa office complex, Teresa Abecasis recalled the “huge challenges” facing Portuguese society in a period marked by economic uncertainty. “The belief that someone is going to deal with these challenges all on their own is an illusion. No single company or individual is capable of resolving these issues by themselves”, underlined the Chief Operating Officer (COO) Commercial.
Fully aware of the difficulties many families are undergoing, the Galp Foundation has decided to ramp up investment in the EPIS project, in which it has participated since 2009, in order to guarantee support for the development of the talent of 40 university students in different regions of the country. From north to south, and including the country´s island territories, 28 grants were offered for undergraduate degrees (lasting three years, worth 850 euros a year) and 12 for Master´s degrees (an annual amount of 1,000 euros for two years). “Our commitment to local communities is total”, Teresa Abecasis pointed out.
The municipalities involved in the initiative were selected in accordance with their connection to Galp's strategy and in regions in which the company develops projects of national importance. Sines and Matosinhos are two of these places, where the multinational company is converting the old refineries into sustainable energy plants. The list also includes Alcoutim, Ourique, Odemira, Setubal, Santiago do Cacém and the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.
“Our commitment to local communities is total”
“We invest in knowledge and training. We are committed to the promotion of young people, talent and skills because we know that the challenge of carbon neutrality will only be overcome with new knowledge”, said the executive.
FACES OF SUCCESS
22-year-old Joana Borba is the holder of one of the scholarships promoted by the Galp Foundation, and she will have the opportunity to sit a Master's degree in molecular and cellular biology. While chatting to Energiser, she explains that she is studying in Aveiro, hundreds of kilometres away from her home in Setubal, and guaranteed that “having your tuition fees paid for” makes all the difference”. Otherwise, she says, she would have to rely on family support to make ends meet. “In addition to my tuition fees, I also have accommodation, food and transport expenses to cover,” she says. After completing her studies, Joana intends to dedicate herself to scientific research and to work in the development of drugs that make a difference in the defence of public health.
Another person that intends to contribute to the well-being of the population, particularly younger people, is 23-year-old Rodrigo Almeida Martins, currently in the second year of his Master's degree in physical education. The financial support of the merit scholarship has enabled this Lusófona University student to drop his status of working-student and concentrate on his academic training and curricular internship on a full-time basis. “The fact that I was awarded the scholarship has enabled me to cast my worries with regard to the cost of tuition fees aside, in addition to allowing me to continue studying with a view to starting work in the field of education”, he says.
The 40 grants awarded by the foundation are part of a total of 163 grants awarded under the EPIS initiative, made up of several Portuguese companies with the same ambition: to foster talent, promote social inclusion and contribute to the training of young people. In the 2022 edition, the programme awarded scholarships to 129 students of Portuguese nationality, 15 from Portuguese-speaking African countries, 13 from other regions and six from countries ravaged by war, such as Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine. A total of 340,000 euros has been invested, which has also made it possible to support occupational internships for young people with special needs and the merit of school projects.
“The growth of the EPIS Social Scholarship programme has enabled us to get increasingly close to young people in Portugal – and to be more inclusive –, with scholarships awarded in 56 municipalities on the mainland and in the islands of Madeira and São Miguel and to young people of 13 nationalities”, highlighted Diogo Simões Pereira. The managing director of EPIS is pleased to “be able to witness so many stories of individual resilience and to be able to help those who deserve to be helped”.
“The growth of the EPIS Social Scholarship program has enabled us to get increasingly close to young people in Portugal”
Leonor Beleza, the former Minister of Health and current President of EPIS, also made a point of highlighting the role of “including more children and young people” in society through education, promoting the creation of a country with better education attendance and completion indicators. “Scholarships are one of the means we use to work towards the success of children and young people”, she pointed out.