Youngster heading to prestigious summit thanks to the kindness of strangers

2016-09-16 18:13
Bongeka Dlamini (Supplied)

Bongeka Dlamini (Supplied)

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Durban – An elated 22-year-old Durban youngster says she is thankful for the kindness of strangers – especially that of those who have helped make it possible for her to jet off to the prestigious One Young Summit in Ottawa, Canada, later this month.

"Words cannot express how grateful I am. I'm in awe of how people who hardly know me have chosen to invest in me," Bongeka Dlamini said on Thursday.

Dlamini said it had not yet sunk in that she would be heading to Canada.

"Honestly, the excitement has not kicked in, if anything I'm relieved."

Dlamini is one of the 1 300 delegates from around the world set to attend the summit that has in the past hosted speakers including former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, former US president Bill Clinton and entrepreneur Richard Branson.

The summit will gather the brightest young people from around the world and empower them to create positive change. They will discuss problems facing their countries and come up with solutions.

Dlamini, from Umlazi, initially did not have enough money for the trip to attend the summit, set to take place from September 28 to October 1. She needed about R70 000 to make the journey.

Flood of interest

Dlamini said she had a difficult time finding sponsors.

"Looking for sponsorship is not easy. I contacted various companies in the public and private sectors for two months after I found out I was selected. Some took the time to respond that they cannot sponsor me and some simply ignored my emails and calls. I was literally on the verge of giving up."

Dlamini said after her story was published on News24 readers and other media houses approached her to assist.

"After my article was published on Friday, East Coast Radio also shared my story on Monday. [Radio presenter] Phat Joe went as far as creating a bid for me.

"I am so grateful to News24 for telling my story. Literally 37 minutes after it was published, I received numerous SMSs, calls and emails from people all over South Africa and even beyond [our borders] wanting to sponsor me, wishing me good luck and some referring me to potential sponsors."

She added that people called and went as far as offering her airtime.

"How crazy is that? Honestly, it's the thought that counts."

Dlamini said she received full sponsorship from four well-wishers who asked to remain anonymous.

Read more on:    durban  |  youth

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