The Matolase Mtonga Scholarship for Women in Reconstructive Surgery

Application and Eligibility Requirements


Today, there are only three female surgeons for every 1 million people in low-income countries, often due to lack of equal access to significant technical training or obstacles to gaining acceptance in their field. Approximately 30% of the global burden of disease is from surgical conditions and there is an estimated shortfall of more than 5 million reconstructive plastic surgery operations annually. Though women comprise more than 50% of the population, they represent only 7% of the surgical workforce.

ReSurge International and SkinCeuticals are working to close this gap to create new generations of pioneering women in reconstructive surgery across the globe. In 2017, ReSurge International partnered with SkinCeuticals, a L’Oreal company, to advance first-generation women reconstructive surgeons in underserved parts of the world. Together, we created the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) program to support these women through surgical training, leadership development, and mentorship networking. In 2021, we tragically and unexpectedly lost the life of one of our pioneering surgeons, Dr. Matolase Mtonga. In honor of her perseverance, leadership, and aspirations for a world where no one suffered needlessly due to a lack of access to reconstructive surgical care, ReSurge and SkinCeuticals established this annual scholarship in her name.


This scholarship in the amount of $2,500 (USD) will be awarded to 14 women training in reconstructive surgery from a low- or middle-income country. This award is intended to be used to supplement training needs during the process of becoming a reconstructive surgeon.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Must be from a low- or middle-income country as defined by the World Bank 
  • Must identify as a woman. Gender Identity can refer to one’s self-identified gender, rather than birth-assigned sex; typically includes male, female, and transgender categories. This scholarship is intended for females, non-binary people identifying primarily as women, or transgender women. Transgender may include but is not limited to (a) someone whose determination of their sex does not “match” their assigned sex according to society; (b) a gender outside of the man/woman binary; (c) having no gender or multiple genders.
  • Must be currently enrolled in a reconstructive surgical training program.
  • At a minimum must have completed medical school and surgical residency. Must be starting to or already focusing on reconstructive surgery.
  • Must be committed to working in or serving in a low- or middle-income country to serve the patients with the greatest need for surgical care
  •  If you have received a Matolase Mtonga Scholarship in the past, unfortunately, you are no longer eligible, as we want to share this opportunity with as many women as possible. If you have received another ReSurge scholarship or funding, you may still apply, as long as it was not specifically the Matolase Scholarship.


July 26, 2024: Deadline for Application Submission 5pm (PST)

August 7, 2024: All applicants will be notified of their status

August 16, 2024: Shortlist finalists to submit 2-minute video (details to be shared upon reaching this phase)

August 23, 2024: Scholars announced

September 6, 2024: Funds disbursed


The scholarship recipient must agree to submit a 2-page report about the impact of the scholarship on their training at the end of the 12 months (September 2025). ReSurge International and SkinCeuticals may also reach out to the scholar throughout the year to request pictures, patient stories, and to complete a final interview. The scholar must agree for ReSurge to use her photos and videos for public purposes.

To Apply

Be prepared to submit a short questionnaire about your background and training, a 250-word essay, and a letter of recommendation.