President seeks support for education trust

2010-04-12 00:00

THABISILE Mpofana is living proof that as long as you work hard, and are given the right kind of support, you can succeed.

The 23-year-old honours student, from Inanda, who completed her Bachelor of Medical Science (Anatomy) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus last year, has her sights set on being a research scientist, specialising in the area of neurology.

Her dreams were made possible when the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust gave her a bursary to study at university, after she matriculated from Amandelethu Secondary School in 2005.

“The day my results came out, no matter how good they were, I didn’t know how I could afford to do anything. I come from a very disadvantaged background,” Mpofana said.

“But someone told me about the Jacob Zuma Trust, and in 2006 I went to a dinner where [President] Jacob Zuma offered me a bursary.”

Speaking to The Witness after attending a fundraising dinner for the Trust in Durban on Saturday, she said she wants to be a research scientist, because “I love knowing more in life”.

She added: “We have a lot of diseases, like Aids, which don’t have a cure. I want to help and I believe it’s important for more black people and women to get involved in research.”

Mpofana believes in encouraging others to follow her example, and has returned to her old school to speak to pupils and to assist them with their studies.

At Saturday’s function, the president called on business people to donate to the Trust so that more poor children can benefit. Having started with only R500 000 about 15 years ago, the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust now has a budget of R10 million, most of which comes from business people who contribute to the fund.

“The budget has grown, but we plead with business people to help because there are so many young people who need help,” Zuma said, adding that more than 4 000 children had applied, but only 500 could be assisted this year.

To date, more than 3 000 young people in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo have been helped by the Trust to study for degrees in science, engineering, community development, information technology, health, tourism, and urban and regional planning.

Zuma said he decided to form the Trust because he knew how difficult it was for poor children to gain access to education. “I also encountered difficulties when I grew up and ended up not going to school,” he explained, adding that, as a child, he dreamt of becoming a lawyer, a teacher or a priest.

• For more information on bursaries and the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust, call Nozipho Mlotshwa at 079 075 8586 or 031 332 6561 or e-mail admin@jacobzumatrust.org.za

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