The campaign, whose first official ambassador was advocate George Bizos, has seen tremendous success since its inception, with an amount of approximately R780 000 being raised in the first ten days thanks to large donations from the private sector including law firm Nortons Inc., the Oppenheimer Family Trust and the South African Property Owners Association. This amount increased to approximately R1.7 million on 23 February after Wits Chancellor and Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke pledged R50 000 to the cause and encouraged ten of his friends to match his contribution. When interviewed by the Wits Vuvuzela, Moseneke commended the SRC on their initiative, saying that they had found a positive way of addressing a deep grievance.

 

Wits Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adam Habib lauded the efforts of the campaign recently in a statement issued on the Wits website entitled the “1 Million Campaign”. Habib stated that Wits was “indeed grateful for the support of the private sector that continues to fund many projects at Wits”. Habib also commended the SRC, who had “taken it upon themselves to support their fellow students.” The vice-chancellor hopes, however, that the campaign total continues to rise in order for all of the students to be funded. This is why Shaeera Kalla, the deputy president of the Wits SRC, has appealed to registered students, staff, alumni and the general public to contribute to this campaign. Kalla reiterated the importance of every single rand raised, and the potential to make dreams a reality for underprivileged students.

 

A little closer to home, Tuks has also announced a similar campaign called the #100InAMillion campaign, which is aimed at encouraging regular donations to deserving students who cannot afford tertiary studies. This long-term view has been adopted by the university in order to combat the annual increase in struggling students who apply each year at Tuks. According to the UP website, the aims of the #100InAMillion campaign are to get 10 000 people, including students, to give R100 from their accounts each month to create a sustainable stream of R1 million worth of funding each month.

 

Cheryl Benadie, a senior development officer at UP, explained that the need for funding was essential in ensuring that deserving students did not become varsity drop-out statistics. “With over 63 000 students registered at UP, the need for student support has become important,” said Benadie. “It is also important to highlight that all students that have applied via our online system for funding will be eligible for support. A UP selection committee decides on the disbursements depending on the available funds,” Benadie explained. This was in addition to the 33 students who received top-up bursaries in 2014 across a range of academic programs.

 

Benadie went on to say that the aim of the “#100InAMillion” campaign launch was to invite UP alumni and friends to help contribute towards successful students who were facing financial exclusion. One such student was Tiny Maake, who is currently enrolled in postgraduate education studies. Despite being a top performing student at UP, she was unable to meet her outstanding 2014 tuition fees. Due to the efforts of the campaign, this Golden Key student, Sepedi tutor and head mentor in Lillium has been able to continue her studies. In a statement released by the UP Development Office entitled “UP responds to student funding crisis with #100InAMillion”, Maake explained that this opportunity had given her the “potential to impact, change, improve and reconceptualise different social, economic, physical, political and cultural issues pertaining to our country”.

 

Benadie explained that anyone interested in becoming a contributor to the “#100InAMillion” campaign could do so at up.ac.za/tsf , as well as learn more about the campaign on the “#100InAMillion” Facebook page.

 

Photo: Brendan Fraser

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