It was just three weeks ago when University of Witwaterstrand’s Student Representative Council (SRC) embarked on a mission to raise R1 million to help those who come from poor families to register at the University, this came after many students were rejected by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) due to a shortage of funds. Now, the SRC has surpassed that target but they have announced that the campaign to help financially needy students will continue.
Over 2000 students were left hopeless after they had not been granted funds by NSFAS, this prompted the SRC to take a stand and attempt to address this issue by starting the “One million, one month” campaign to raise R1 million for students who couldn’t afford to register. The SRC encouraged students, parents, staff, alumni, corporates and the general public to donate R100 each in order to reach the target and in just a space of one week, R250 000 had been donated.
The students took the campaign to social networks, creating a buzz around it. Donations started pouring in from fellow students, Wits deans and senior executive staff, academic staff union Asawu to name a few. The target was reached after a former government official, Basetsana Thokoane, donated a whopping R553 000. In a letter to SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini, Thokoane expressed how she will always make sure that young people who are hard-workers are given enough support to achieve their dreams just as many people did with her.
The SRC still needs to find a criteria on how they will allocate the funds in a responsible manner. According to Wits Vuvuzela, they are considering starting with students who performed the best academically and then helping third-year students since they are due to finish their studies soon. The money that has been raised thus far will register at least 100 students, but their aim now is to help even more students and not just with registration but with tuition fees as well.
The SRC has also urged the students to do their best to get funding after being registered but promised them that they will help as much as they can. They emphasised that this can only be achieved through a collective effort by both the SRC and the students themselves.
SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini, has expressed his gratitude to Wits students, the staff and everyone who contributed in making the campaign a success but also urged them to continue donating since the campaign continues.
South African President, Jacob Zuma, in his reply to the State Of the Nation Address congratulated the Wits SRC for making it a priority to help needy students.
We hope that more student bodies in our Universities follow in the footsteps of Witwatersrand Student Representative Council.