For most of our bursary students, the first priority after graduating is to find a job. That was not the case for Loyiso Tunce, who beaome the first of our students to complete a postgraduate qualification when he recently finished his Masters course in Town Planning at Wits University in Johannesburg. On his recent return to Masiphumelele he caught up
with Masicorp to inform us of his progress.
Masicorp has a long history with Loyiso having first met him in 2003 at a time when Masiphumelele had a middle school. Masicorp helped Loyiso to obtain a place at Fish Hoek High School, and although he initially found the new learning environment very challenging he eventually settled in. He was a keen cross country runner and ran for the school in many events across the Western Cape as well as learning new sports, such as cricket, for the first time. With the help of sponsors in the United States he became a keen reader of English literature, starting with classics such as Treasure Island and moving onto more modern material such as the Harry Potter series. In return for the books he wrote back to his sponsors in the States and tried to explain the basics of cricket to them. Clearly he relishes a challenge.
Loyiso went on to become one of our very first university bursary students and soon completed a BSc (hons) in Geography at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). For his postgraduate study Loyiso decided to move north and stayed with his uncle in Johannesburg, while he studied at Wits University. The city of Johannesburg has a very different atmosphere to the laid back tourist culture of Cape Town, and the culture and vibrancy of the city is something he was keen to experience before returning to Masiphumelele.
Loyiso worked briefly as a research assistant at Wits after he completed the course, and is now looking for similar work in Cape Town. However, his real passion is still study and he is keen to push himself one step further by enrolling for a PhD if the opportunity arises. Here is hoping that we can one day be writing about the first Masicorp bursary student to receive a doctorate.
Our team in the US (John & Carol Thompson, Jane Philippi) has wrapped up its 2014 fundraising season. When Masicorp started in 1999, all the funds raised were from friends of John & Carol in America. Now Masicorp’s support comes from the US, UK and South Africa.
This past year’s US results are exceptionally good as we report that for the second straight year, total funds coming from the US exceeded $275,000 or over 3 million ZAR. And this is from 129 donors. No government money, no institutional money – just private individuals who see in Masicorp a way to help young people get out of poverty by having access to education.
Over the years, most of the money has been in unrestricted gifts that help us pay both program costs and our operating expenses. This past year we have also received restricted gifts for a variety of projects including the building of the MasiEducare pre-primary school, teacher training in Early Child Development, the new Maths Lab at the Ukhanyo School as well as college bursaries and uniforms for schoolchildren.
We have two groups of people to thank. First, the donors who, in many cases have never visited Masi; some have never visited Africa. Some have been supporting us for over ten years with annual contributions. Second, the 60+ volunteers who work in Masi so Masicorp can deliver all the benefits we do for minimal cost. Donors know that over 90% of their donations go straight to the beneficiaries in Masi.
In 2011 Ziyanda Mwanda volunteered to work at the annual Careers Indaba at Masiphumelele library, which is where she came to hear about Masicorp. At the time she was in the second year of a BSc Biotechnology course at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). She had a particular interest in forensic science, but sadly her studies were not going well due to a family illness that had forced her to leave her residence and return to Masiphumelele. She found herself working part-time and having to make the long commute by minibus and train to the campus, and the travel was catching up with her as she failed two second year modules.
Fortunately Masicorp stepped in after being impressed by both her perseverance in the face of adversity and impressive results at high school and in the first year of university. With the stability of the Masicorp bursary and associated mentoring support she was able to return to full time study. Her results improved straight away, and she both recovered her past failures and completed the course on time. We were delighted when she graduated in 2012.
We met up with Ziyanda again this week to see how the degree has changed her life. Although she still lives in Masiphumelele, Ziyanda is working as a research assistant at the UWC School of Public Health (SoPH) at their campus in Cape Town. Ziyanda developed an interest in facilitating the Google groups for the Masters courses offered at SoPH. She is developing e-content for the courses and assisting the students in using google groups and software such as dropbox to store and present their work.
SoPH is well-known for its flexible, modular courses and Ziyanda’s work helps students from rural areas to access the learning material remotely. Many of the students are based overseas, in other African countries. Such is the quality of Ziyanda’s work, she will be representing the university at an international conference to be held in India later this year. Later this year she also intends to return to study by enrolling on a postgraduate course in E-Learning at UWC.
Ziyanda has come a long way since first getting involved with Masicorp. We are delighted with her success and would also like to thank her for giving back to the programme by offering to give guidance and tutoring to our current biotechnology students. It remains a popular degree option, and Ziyanda is a perfect role model for the students from Masiphumelele.
Did you know that if you shop at some of South Africa’s largest brands (e.g. Woolworths, Engen, Kalahari.com) you can help to support Ukhanyo School in Masiphumelele? It all happens through the My School fundraising programme, which was established in 1997 by a Johannesburg based parent who wanted to help his child’s school raise more funds in an easy and sustainable manner. Initially Woolworth’s came on board as the main partner and eventually bought out the whole project.
The scheme now raises over R4 million for over 10 000 schools and charitable organisations every month. There are many huge success stories such as the provision of 5000 desks to under resourced schools in the Eastern Cape.
Here in Masiphumelele it is also possible for your purchases to help out Ukhanyo School. All you need to do is apply for a card that is swiped every time you make a purchase at Woolworths (or the other participating outlets). Each transaction is recorded and a percentage is paid to the school or charity of the supporter’s choice. The amount donated by Woolworths and their business partners ranges between 0.25 and 5% of the total, depending on how much you buy. If you nominate Ukhanyo School as your preferred recipient then funds will be made available to the school for improvements such as classroom maintenance, and the provision of text books and sports equipment. The scheme is open to locals and visitors also (you will need your passport number).
To apply please contact Woolworths client Services on 0860 100 445 or apply online HERE
Remember to nominate Ukhanyo School in Masiphumelele. You will receive a card with the schools name printed on it and you can even track your purchases and associated donations on-line. Many thanks in advance for supporting Ukhanyo.