The Free State’s top 25 Gr. 12 learners, who excelled on academic level despite huge personal challenges, were awarded the first Siyandisa Foundation scholarships.“What makes this scholarship programme unique is its focus on provi-ding vital resources and support to promising black Gr. 12 learners. We are of the view that insufficient attention is paid to the support of these top candidates. “These learners, often from rural environments, have managed to overcome massive personal challenges and difficult financial and family backgrounds to stand as our top academic performers in the Free State,” says Sam Moleko, chair of the Syandisa Trust and spokesperson for the Siyandisa Foundation.The scholarship has provided the recipients with Samsung tablets and 20 GB of data access through the scholarship’s partner, Vodacom, to provide technology platform learning. With these tools, recipients gain access to custom developed video lectures by top teachers in five key subjects, namely Physical Science, Mathematics, English First Additional language, Life Sciences and Accounting. They also received access to the MyTopDog online learning platform as an additional supplement to the aforementioned lectures in eight Gr. 12 subjects, as well as stationery, a financial calculator, a power pack for electronic devices and a financial incentive of R1 000 per matriculation distinction achieved. Recipients will also receive career counselling and guidance, bursary and university application support, vital mentorship and life coaching by top mentors to empower them with the necessary soft skills to face the challenges of tertiary studies.As a final incentive to work hard and excel academically, each recipient will automatically be considered for the award of three tertiary education bursaries to the value of R50 000 each.One of the recipients, Emmanuel Mofammere from the Lenyora la Thuto School in Botshabelo, has an academic average of 90%. He wants to fulfil a childhood dream of becoming an astrophysicist. He initiated a camping project at his school for learners to sleep over at school to study together and create a learning environment which they often do not have at home.According to Moleko, the Siyandisa Foundation plans to expand this programme nationally with scholarships to be awarded to deserving candidates in their Gr. 12 year across all nine provinces in 2018.