SOS Funds Open Educational Doors Amid Limited Opportunities

General Conference

SOS Funds Open Educational Doors Amid Limited Opportunities

SOS is a scholarship initiative that provides funding for any female planning to attend a Seventh-day Adventist college or university in the division where she lives.

United States | Angelica Sanchez, ANN

For many years, Shaina Strimbu longed to study theology. However, her limited finances made her ability to obtain an education uncertain. Nevertheless, she believed God would provide for her needs, and He did. Through several miracles, including a Scholarshipping Our Sisters (SOS) scholarship from the Women’s Ministries (WM) department of the General Conference (GC), the degree was made possible. Shaina graduated from Bogenhofen Seminary in Austria. Today, Shaina serves as the youth director of the Austrian Union. 

Throughout history, women have fought for several rights like the opportunity to vote. Privileges like obtaining an education once seemed impossible. However, now we live in an age where education is a right and females can become engineers, lawyers, and astronauts. 

While financing an educational degree can be costly, the SOS initiative has provided females worldwide access to Adventist education for over 15 years. Nilde Itin, WM associate director notes, “SOS seeks to help women reach their potential.” To date, the initiative has awarded scholarships to over 2,700 recipients, helping hundreds of women achieve their educational goals. 

What is SOS

SOS is a scholarship initiative that provides funding for any female planning to attend a Seventh-day Adventist college or university in the division where she lives. Applicants are awarded based on academic achievement, financial need, and community outreach. Furthermore, primary consideration is given to females in the last two years of their degree. 

Currently, the SOS is funded by several fundraising activities. Carolyn Kujawa, current WM volunteer elaborates, “Fundraising activities include the SOS newsletter, appeal letters, luncheons, biannual used book sales at the GC, tea parties, sharing SOS materials at GC sessions, and helpers who share SOS newsletters at their churches.”

According to Itin, females interested in applying for SOS can find the application and criteria on the WM website. Applications can be submitted to the WM department of the applicant’s local conference. Approved applications will be forwarded to the respective divisions for review before reaching the GC's WM department. Application deadlines are October 31st and May 31st of every year. 

How the Scholarship Began

In 1992, Rose Otis, former WM director, created a higher education scholarship known as the WM Scholarship fund. Annual WM devotional book sales funded this scholarship. Nevertheless, due to rising education costs and scholarship applications, helping every candidate became difficult. Unfortunately, many skilled and worthy women were turned down. 

As a result, SOS was born. In 2003, a group of volunteers formed a supplementary team to organize the new scholarship that would operate in partnership with the WM scholarship program. 

How SOS is Helping Women Worldwide

So far, WM has provided educational scholarships to women in at least 134 countries worldwide, including India, Zambia, and Korea. In January 2022, over $12,000 went towards helping over 20 women from 11 different countries. 

Munsaka, a young woman from Zambia, is a recent scholarship recipient. She currently looks forward to her soon graduation from the School of Agriculture at Rusangu University. Her goal is to increase her knowledge and skills of cultivation and planting to teach and equip people in her community. 

Nilde adds, “We do our best to help as many women as possible, and we are grateful for the many donations we receive throughout the year. It is remarkable to see how a small amount can help a female achieve great things in her community.” Kujawa adds, “Many women are doing great things around the world like giving back to their communities and serving God through their careers.” 

As a result of your prayers and support, many women today can achieve their academic goals and contribute to making the world a better place. 

Learn more about SOS and about how you can help at