♦ The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)
NSFAS is the principal funder of tertiary education in South Africa, granting study loans to poor students enabling them to study at universities and universities of technology. Studietrust is a first tier NGO partner of NSFAS and in 2012 received a grant of R4.5 million to administer to needy students.
In 2011 NSFAS revised its conditions and rules to make it even more favourable to qualifying students. Interest is no longer charged until the loan recipient finds employment and then the interest rate remains 80% of the Repo rate. Final year students who complete their degrees and diplomas now get the whole loan amount for the final year converted into a bursary.
Of the 131 students who in 2011 received NSFAS loans through Studietrust, 48 were also recipients of partial bursaries.
Socionext (www.socionext.org), the brainchild of Tjaart Theron, and to which Studietrust contributed seed funding in 2009, aims to become a world-wide peer-to-peer talent-development community. The Socionext community connects young people directly with their peers across the globe to develop their talents and increase their appreciation of each other’s culture and situation while raising funds for talent development.
One of its core programmes is the Socionext Entrepreneurship Challenge for talented young people between the ages of 17 and 23 years old. Socionext Challenges are action-learning programmes made available to higher education institutions. Students earn study points while gaining practical entrepreneurial and marketing skills and expanding their social and professional networks. Focus areas include new media marketing, network activation, presentation techniques and team management strategies. Students form teams that are coached by practitioners from the profit and non-profit sectors.
Profiles of Studietrust bursars who participated in Socionext Entrepreneurship Challenges as resource persons to Dutch teams are accessible through the Socionext Facebook page: www.facebook.com/socionext.
|Niki Lintmeijer and Sterre Scholten, two students at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, converse via a skype link-up with Studietrust bursar Thamsanqa Mncwango (ND Management Services, UJ). All three were participants in the first Socionext Entrepreneurship Challenge based at the University of Amsterdam.|
In 2013 Studietrust will be granting its first bursary with proceeds from a Socionext challenge to Rudzani Matshili who intends studying Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. A member of the Umuzi Photo Club she participated in the Club’s creative activist campaign, photographing service delivery problems in Diepsloot to raise awareness about the issue of especially electricity supply. Rudzani, who started the Diepsloot Change Association while still at school, teamed up with a team of students at the University of Amsterdam participating in a Socionext Social Entrepreneurship Challenge. They used social media to propagate Rudzani’s campaign and to raise funds for her tertiary studies. The R25,000 raised will be sufficient for a Studietrust access bursary in 2012. Meet Rudzani here: http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2012-03-12-i-am-an-activist-for-change.
Umuzi Photo Club (http://umuziphotoclubnews.blogspot.com) is a youth development organisation that works with young people in under-resourced communities to create socially informative multimedia which inspires engaged citizenry, youth activism and change.
♦ Sumbandila Scholarship Trust
The Venda word “sumbandila” means “show the way” or “point the road” and the mission of the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust (www.sumbandila.org) is “the transformation of underprivileged children with exceptional potential into entrepreneurs and leaders who make significant contributions to society and their own communities.” The Sumbandila project has two tiers—the residential scholarships that allow poor but talented children to attend Ridgeway College, an independent school in Makhado, Limpopo, as full boarders, and the Sumbandila Outliers, an outreach programme to schools in the Vhembe district of Limpopo.
Studietrust since 2008 had been partnering the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust in providing school bursaries to the learners on the Outliers Programme. Applicants for Sumbandila Scholarships who qualify in terms of the academic criteria but cannot be accommodated on the Residential Programme due to lack of resources are invited to participate in the Outliers Programme. The Programme consists of Saturday and Holiday Schools at Ridgeway College and include extra tuition in Maths, Science, Information Technology and English. In 2012 there were 136 learners on the programme originating from 31 high schools over 11 Limpopo Department of Education circuits, most of them located in the Vhembe District. Studietrust’s sponsorship of the Sumbandila Outlier Programme is funded by individual Investec employees through the Bank’s “Touch by Giving” Programme, The Edgar Droste Trust and the FW de Klerk Foundation.
The Outlier Programme curriculum focuses on intensive teaching of core concepts in the four subjects. Apart from having a positive effect on the learner’s academic progress, the Programme also makes an impact through what the participants take back into their schools, peer groups, families and communities. Maths skills are being passed back to their peers through cooperative learning and even teachers have reportedly been borrowing the new ‘PracMaths’ text-books made available by the Programme. Participants are encouraged to take out novels from the Ridgeway College library and this reading club initiative is proving a very popular part of the Programme. IT learning has become a significant part of Sumbandila and the Outlier IT project, entitled My Family Book, involved the learners assembling a family tree and history of their kin. This project required gaining various essential IT skills and was integrated into English lessons.
Apart from the academic focus, which is the main component of both programmes, Sumbandila seeks to introduce the children to a diversity of different ideas and disciplines. In a country where there is, in real terms, 48% unemployment, Sumbandila selects those children who we believe can become job creators rather than job seekers. Of particular interest is the emphasis on the development of the children's entrepreneurial skills and the children are regularly exposed to examples of entrepreneurial thinking. Sumbandila makes use of games and activities designed by the South African Institute of Entrepreneurship.
The DG Murray Trust, our trusted sponsor over many years, have been funding the actual Saturday and Holiday Schools of Sumbandila since 2009.
Studietrust’s volunteer filmmaker Andrew Hofmeyr documented the Sumbandila initiative from the beginning and “Scholarship,” his first film on the project, won the best short film award at the 2010 Filmanthropy Festival in Hollywood. The film can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFgnY3JLBtM.