by Lulu Mchunu

A bold step

Bold Step fundraising initiative aims to raise funds for bursaries

The Kagiso Trust aids students to reach their dreams
A bold step towards a better future

Last year, just over one in every four out of the 380,000 young South Africans, who passed Grade 12, earned a university pass. In theory, around 100,000 new enrolments could be expected at our country’s universities.  How many of these promising young students will be able to afford a university education without outside assistance? 

That’s why Kagiso Trust is launching its Bold Step fundraising initiative, which aims to raise money for bursaries administrated by its Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme. The launch, which will take the form of a fundraising dinner on 19 February at 18h00, will feature as guest speaker, Transnet CEO Brian Molefe, who hosted the launch of the  Eric Molobi scholarship. Many business leaders will be attending including luminaries such as Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Sandile Zungu (ZINCO) and Romeo Khumalo (Vodacom), amongst others.

What makes this campaign different is that it appeals not only to companies whose donations would benefit their BEE scorecards, but also to ordinary South Africans.

“This campaign is a call to action for all South Africans to take a ‘bold step’ in contributing to education reform,” says Kagiso Trust CEO Kgotso Schoeman. “It’s time for a new type of mobilisation that taps into the potential for public action. We have the opportunity to ensure that more young people have quality education, which is imperative to tackling poverty.” 

Students can expect to pay between R15,000 and R25,000 per year for most undergraduate degrees, and even more for degrees such as law and medicine. And, even if they manage to enroll for their studies, many students drop out due to a shortage of funds. Studies conducted over the past decade by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Higher Education South Africa (HESA), amongst others, suggest that 30 – 40% of students drop out during their first year of university, with many of them  hailing from poor homes where combined household incomes range between R400 and R1600 per month.

"Whether students apply for partial or full bursaries, most underestimate the true cost of education and find themselves stuck with extra costs they can't afford,” says Schoeman, describing the important role that the Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme has to play in assisting students.

“Aside from the tuition, there are textbooks, transport, food, accommodation and other living costs that can financially cripple the student - and that's when they drop out.”

He points out that for those who take jobs in order to try to make enough money to pay for their studies and living costs, the pressure of both working and studying places them under enormous stress and detracts from proper focus on their education. Their studies invariably end up being affected and many of the students fail to finish their courses successfully.

“This just isn’t good enough! If we want to see South Africa move forward on every level, those of us who are fortunate enough to assist should consider making a financial contribution which will help others enjoy their right to quality education,” concludes Schoeman. “The Bold Step campaign is more than just a call to action; it’s a human action.”

The Kagiso Trust launched the Eric Molobi Scholarship Programme in honour of one of its founding members in 2007. The aim of the programme is to fund black youth from rural communities who show an excellent aptitude for maths and science in the schools that are participating in the Beyers Naudé School Development Programme. They are encouraged to study in the field of engineering and commerce with funding provided for the duration of their studies. The funding covers tuition fees, books and educational equipment, accommodation, transport and personal expenses. The scholarship programme's vision is to create a viable, vibrant network of young business and science leaders.

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