Professor Thuli Madonsela, who holds Stellenbosch University’s Law Trust Chair in Social Justice, has gifted R27 000 to #Action4Inclusion in celebration of the 27 Years of Democracy. Together with the Stellenbosch University (SU) Student Representative Council (SRC), she challenges SU alumni, members of the public, companies, and captains of industry to contribute to the cause of scrapping student debt and specifically, to help Maties to access their academic results, that cannot be made available due to outstanding fees.
Action4Inclusion is a SU student funding initiative aimed at ensuring academic inclusion by settling outstanding study fees for students in need. The initiative was established by the SRC and Madonsela, with the support of the university’s Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR) to ensure that no student is left behind due to their financial circumstances.
“This year marks 27 years of healing the divisions of the past and freeing the potential of all. As unemployment and poverty explode, we do not want angry young people seething over stolen dreams,” says Madonsela.
Madonsela adds that she “challenges all to give a ‘democracy dividend’ to young people striving to get a university qualification. In addition to alleviating student’s financial stresses related to their possibilities of re-registration, your donation to #Action4Inclusion will help Maties access their academic results that cannot be made available due to outstanding fees. Getting them over the final hurdle will in turn enhance students’ social mobility in pursuit of social justice while capitalising them as essential assets for sustainable economic growth and development”.
According to Karen Bruns, Senior Director: Development and Alumni Relations at SU, this initiative will indeed complement existing efforts to raise much-need funds for Matie students. “It is heartening to see our students and staff coming together to support one another as we work towards ensuring equal opportunities for all.”
Removing Maties students’ biggest obstacle
“Outstanding student debt is regarded as one of the most significant challenges faced by many SU students from poor and working-class families” explains Xola Njengele, the SRC Chairperson at Maties. “It is increasingly becoming the biggest obstacle on their way to success. Being overburdened is also potentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating financial difficulties for such students in the past year” he adds.
The SRC is very grateful toward prof Madonsela, who drives the campaign and partakes in various “fun-with-a-purpose” activities, such as sponsored hikes and walkathons to raise awareness on the global impediment created by student debt. In addition to raising awareness, prof Madonsela utilises her broad platform by reaching out to colleagues, professionals, and businesses in order to acquire contributions.
Moreover, the SRC recognises the various efforts by the University to assist students with financial difficulties, but a special effort is now needed to assist students in these challenging times.
Digital donation drive set in motion
The SRC, in collaboration with Prof Madonsela and DAR, now implore SU alumni, members of the public, companies and captains of industry to contribute, match or exceed her donation to this worthy cause. The #Action4Inclusion campaign, hosted on www.matiesalumni, went live on the GivenGain donating platform in October 2020 and is hoping to get support not only from Maties alumni but also ordinary South Africans – here and abroad.
Asked why he felt the need to support #Action4Inclusion, Mr Jean Meiring, an SU alumnus and Council Member who matched Madonsela’s gift, says “at all stages of my life, education and access to money to obtain an education, were a given for me. How I might pay for my education was not something I ever lost any sleep over. The same does not apply to many SU students, who struggle to find the money to stay at this institution, not least in a world beset by many new challenges and threats. It’s important that those of us who were privileged to be able to take education for granted, help today’s students not so privileged”.
o Affected students would be unable to register by 15 March, if a first target amount is not raised – so the first target amount (owed from 2019) is R2 million needed for students to register by 15 March.
o The second target is R2.7 million by 27 April, and the final target is R10 million by 16 June for 2020 debt.
#Action4Inclusion on Maties Alumni website: https://www.matiesalumni.com/action4inclusion/
#Action4Inclusion on GivenGain website: https://www.givengain.com/cc/action4inclusion/