Hailing from the small town of Olifantshoek, Machalline Diergaardt, a recent graduate and a beneficiary of the REISA Solar scholarship programme has dedicated herself to becoming a qualified teacher in order to give back to her community.
Driven by a passion for education and a strong desire to positively impact the lives of young learners, Machalline successfully completed her five-year extended programme in the Faculty of Education at the University of Free State earlier this year. Since then, she has been employed on a contract basis at a local high school.
“I believe that being an educator offers a unique opportunity to witness the visible progress in the learners’ abilities. Making a real difference in their lives and helping them achieve their goals is the driving force behind my decision to pursue teaching. I understand the importance of guiding learners towards success, as I was once in their shoes,” said Machalline.
The REISA Solar scholarship, which focuses on contributing towards human resource development in specific fields, has not only opened doors for Machellene but has also instilled in her a desire to give back to her community.
“By awarding me the scholarship, REISA has eased my mother’s financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school, which is learning. Their generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to my community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as they have helped me,” she said.
Machaline is currently working towards obtaining her South African Council for Educators (SACE) certificate, a requirement for applications to the Department of Education.
This scholarship programme exclusively targets learners from communities within a 50km radius of the solar facility, encompassing Kathu, Olifantshoek, Dibeng, Siyathemba, Babatas and Mapoteng. The focus is to contribute to study fields considered critical for the South African economy, such as Teaching, Engineering, Natural and Social Sciences, Environment and Nursing. The fund covers tuition, accommodation, stationary, textbooks, laptop, administration fee, meals, transport and living allowance.