One Year Later: The 2022-23 Matolase Mtonga Scholars

In 2022, ReSurge International and SkinCeuticals awarded three exceptional women the first annual Matolase Mtonga Memorial Scholarship: Dr. Samrawit Girmay from Ethiopia, Dr. Amala Kulkarni from India, and Dr. Sarah Nyakiongara from Kenya. This scholarship continues the legacy of the late Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) trainee, Dr. Matolase Mtonga, and supports the training of women surgeons in low-income countries to enact change in their community.

One year later, we were able to check in with these incredible women and hear a bit more about the impact the scholarship had on their past year of training in reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Samrawit Girmay

Scholarship Recipient from Ethiopia

For Dr. Girmay, the scholarship helped her finish her final year of residency and evolve into her new career as a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Through the thick and thin of her residency, Dr. Girmay was uplifted by the Mtonga legacy.

“I have never met Dr. Matolase in person, but the scholarship…made me think of all the female residents who couldn’t fulfill their dreams due to various reasons. Everyone will pass but some are remembered and a great way to remember a great soul is by taking their legacy to continue.”

Dr. Amala Kulkarni

Scholarship Recipient from India

Dr. Kulkarni had an eventful year of exploring new job offers, fellowships, and training with some of our ReSurge partners in India and Nepal. Dr. Kulkarni notes, “I am still a work in progress and chances are I’ll always be. But if I have learned one thing from how my life has panned out so far, I need to take a chance on myself. ReSurge took a chance on me, and I feel an incredible amount of gratitude for it.”

Dr. Sarah Nyakiongara

Scholarship Recipient from Kenya

Dr. Nyakiongara, a new mother of two, is grateful to ReSurge for the scholarship’s timely support during her training. “Having just given birth to my daughter in February this year, I am now a mother to two beautiful children. As my family grows, I continue to be grateful to ReSurge for enabling me to spend more time with them as I did not have to work to look for funds for tuition fees. The scholarship allowed me to pay tuition fees for my final year of training, and I graduated with a Masters in Plastic and reconstructive surgery from the University of Nairobi.”

The Matolase Mtonga scholarship continues to shape the lives of young women around the world. We are excited to continue expanding this program to uplift the next generation of female plastic and reconstructive surgeons. Stay tuned for an announcement with the 2023 Matolase Mtonga Scholarship Winners!