On Friday 25 May the Siyandisa Foundation awarded 50 top black matriculants across South Africa with its unique scholarships aimed at empowering them to achieve the best possible results in their final matriculation exams and further tertiary studies.
These 50 learners from low income households are among the country’s top academic performers despite facing enormous personal and financial challenges on a daily basis. They can now make full use of the study and personal support the scholarships provide and also come into consideration for further exclusive pre- and post-graduate bursaries under the scholarship programme, based on their matric and tertiary education results.
“This Scholarship Programme invests in South Africa’s future leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, doctors, engineers, scientists and more, by providing needy learners who have demonstrated academic excellence with vital resources, academic support, mentoring and career counselling.
“Although these learners, often from rural environments, are referred to as what is known as ‘previously disadvantaged’, it is our hope that this programme will in a way make them exactly that: disadvantaged no more,” remarked Sam Moleko, Chair of Siyandisa Trust and spokesperson for the Siyandisa Foundation, at the gala awards evening held in Johannesburg.
Now in its second year, the Siyandisa Foundation Scholarship Programme has thus far delivered remarkable results. Last year’s 25 recipients from the Free State obtained 136 matriculation distinctions in total in their final grade 12 results. In addition, three of these scholarship recipients were ranked among the Top 10 matriculants in the Free State, while 14 in total were among the Top 100 in the province.
To qualify for this scholarship, a learners must be a black South African citizen in grade 12, have an 85% or higher average in Grade 11, and have parents or guardians who have been exempted from paying school tuition for financial reasons.
“The main aim is to ensure that they are armed and ready to enter the world of tertiary education with everything necessary to make a success of their prospective careers,” Moleko added.
With technology at the heart of the Scholarship offering, it includes Samsung tablets and data access through scholarship partner Vodacom, to provide a technology platform for learning. With these tools, recipients gain access to custom developed video lectures by top teachers in five key subjects, namely Physical Science, Mathematics, English First additional language, Life Sciences, and Accounting; access to the My Top Dog online learning platform as an additional supplement to the aforementioned lectures in eight Grade 12 subjects; stationery; a financial calculator; power bank for electronic devices; and a financial incentive of R1 000 per matriculation distinction achieved.
Recipients also receive invaluable career counselling and guidance; bursary and university application support; and vital mentorship and life-coaching by top mentors to empower them with the necessary soft skills to face the challenges of tertiary studies
As a final incentive to work hard and achieve academically, each recipient will automatically be considered for the award of five tertiary education bursaries to the value of R50,000 each to be paid to five recipients in furtherance of their tertiary studies.
To get a sense of the various moving stories these learners have to tell, imagine the life of Innocent Mashula, a grade 12 learner from Mulenga Secondary School in Vhembe, Limpopo who is one of this year’s scholarship recipients. This boy’s mother, with whom he stays alone in a one-roomed shack in Ndzelele, Limpopo, has had a stroke which left her disabled and unable to do anything for herself. This means that before Innocent heads out to school every morning, he must bath his mom and ensure that she is also fed. He then travels a distance of over 5 km to school by foot every morning. They are fully dependent on the grant she receives for their financial needs, which is also used to sustain other members of the family.
There is also Siphesihle Dlamini from Pace Commercial Secondary School in Johannesburg, who lives with her mother under very difficult circumstances following her father’s passing last year. Their living conditions makes life very hard, but despite the hurdles that they have to regularly overcome, Siphesihle is determined to do her best at school as she believes that their circumstances will be changed through education.
“It is precisely the human beings in stories such as these that we want to uplift and empower to change their lives for the better. We at the Siyandisa Foundation are incredibly humbled and excited about what this programme can and will achieve, and the importance of this for our shared future,” Moleko concludes.
Click here to see how the function unfolded.
Type the code from the image