Irafasha Selected as Recipient of “Beat the Odds” Scholarship by CDF-Texas


Wisdom Senior Aline Irafasha is filmed for a mini-documentary that will be shown at the “Beat the Odds” Awards Luncheon on May 16.

Staff Reports


The Children’s Defense Fund “Beat the Odds” program honors outstanding Houston-area high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence and given back to their communities. And it was recently announced that Wisdom High School senior Aline Irafasha has been selected as one of five winners from the State of Texas in the Class of 2019.

Started in 1999, the program identifies and rewards young people who have experienced significant hardship in their lives and supports them as they continue their educational journey. Their grit and resilience are overwhelming. Their stories give hope and remind us that no one should ever give up on a child.

“Aline’s story is remarkable, and she meets all of the criteria that we look for in a “Beat the Odds” Scholar – she has overcome significant obstacles in her life, she has achieved high academic excellence, and she has given back to her community,” said CDF-Texas Youth Programs Coordinator Clarissa Webb. “What stood out for us were the other aspects to her story, such as the fact that she is the only one from her family that speaks any English, and that she just has an incredibly upbeat spirit.”

Irafasha was born in Rwanda and spent her first 17 years in Gihembe refugee camp in Rwanda under deplorable conditions, in which she and her sisters had to hike four miles just to retrieve water. Now, Irafasha is headed to Wellesley College in Massachusetts after earning a college scholarship.

Irafasha speaks with the CDF-Texas Youth Programs Coordinator after being informed that she was chosen as one of five scholars.

Each year, through a competitive review process, CDF-Texas selects five deserving high school seniors from the greater Houston and Dayton/Liberty areas for a Beat the Odds award. They provide each student with the financial, academic and personal support necessary to matriculate and succeed in college and beyond—including up to $5,000 in scholarship money, a laptop computer, domestic airfare to/from college, ongoing mentoring, internship referrals, leadership development, coursework and career guidance, professional clothing and more.

The powerful stories of resilience, courage, determination and hope shared at the annual Beat the Odds Awards Luncheon inform CDF’s efforts to change the odds for children, and serve as a stirring reminder and call to action for change-makers, policymakers, and every one of us to renew our commitment to children.

Since 1999, the CDF-Texas Beat the Odds Awards has provided well over half a million dollars in college scholarships, and raises vital funds to support CDF’s work in Texas. For more information, log on to: