Absa Bank has donated over R15m to Wits University in aid of student funding.
On Friday, 9 June 2017, representatives from Absa’s Scholarship Programme handed over a cheque to Wits to give academically talented but financially inhibited students an opportunity to study with less financial burdens.
The donation enabled students like Nthabiseng Mogalia, a beneficiary of Absa’s Scholarship Programme and a third year Urban and Region Planning student at Wits to complete her studies.
Wits vice-chancellor and principal, Professor Adam Habib thanked Absa for upholding their commitment to sustainable development by making a positive impact in the lives of society and facilitating access to quality education.
Through support from Absa, more institutions were encouraged to donate to Wits as well, said Habib.
“Our donor targets exceeded our historic targets, partly because of the crisis (funding), but also the fact that you guys gave – and you did so publicly, which made everybody say, ‘well, we have got to come to the party as well.’ That I think is an important thing to say, and I want to thank you for that.”
Absa has made various donations to the University over the years. Last year, the bank donated over R10m to fund students in the ‘missing middle’, which was included in the R15m cheque.
The Absa Scholarship Programme has sponsored more than 2000 students to date – 10 times more than Absa’s intended target when the programme was started.
“When we first started the scholarship programme, we initially had a target of about 200 students that we wanted to support and then we would absorb them into the organisation,” said Sazini Mojapelo, ABSA’s Citizenship Division Head for Africa.
Mojapelo said that the plight of students who took to the streets during the start of the Fees Must Fall movement encouraged the bank to support more students than orginally intended.
“We have become more involved in conversations on solutions around the fees challenges. We also recognise as we have grown closer to the issues, that it is not only about school fees but about how we keep these great institutions of learning alive at the level that they are for future generations.”
Source: University of the Witwatersrand