Edendale Indian Welfare Society redefines philanthropy

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Pietermaritzburg - A large donation to the UKZN Alumni Bursary Endowment Fund has completed the Edendale Indian Welfare Society’s purpose.

The society made a donation of more than R300 000 which was initially earmarked for the building of a school in Edendale. In 1981, the society made a modest investment of R12 000 for a school for poor pupils in Edendale. However, due to the Group Areas Act they were forced to move and the school was not built. That R12 000, invested carefully by the late treasurer Ahmed Shaik, grew and although the school was not built, the money is being donated towards education.

Dayanand Lachman is the only surviving member of the original founding members of the society and said he feels the “circle is now complete”.

“The donation to the UKZN Alumni Bursary Endowment Fund therefore completes the circle of philanthropic intent of a committed community who through hardship and commitment realised their higher purpose of helping others in need,” read a statement from UKZN.

The Edendale Indian Welfare Society started in 1933 specifically to build a school in Edendale. The nearest school at that time was in Plessislaer and with no transport, children had to walk to get there. In a previous report in The Witness in 2005, Shaik said the roads were gravel and winter was severe in those days, when frost was already on the ground by the end of May.

“Parents felt they had to do something to make it easier for their children to get an education,” Shaik had told The Witness.

Funds had been raised by employees of the Wicker Works factory in Edendale, Sutherlands Tannery in Plessislaer and at the Eddels shoe factory in Pietermaritzburg. Some sponsors were farmers who sold their produce at the market in the city. After the Group Areas Act, the society remained largely inactive until 1981. Shaik remained the treasurer for over 20 years and invested the money in a fixed deposit.

In 2005 the balance stood at R143 802,28. This year, with the balance at R307 306, it will be used to sponsor the study costs of a needy student from the Pietermaritzburg region.

The Alumni Bursary Endowment Fund is one of the premium funds administered by the university’s foundation trust. The fund is not at a level where it can start disbursing, and further funding is needed. “In the current context of the critical student funding needs, investment to the Alumni Bursary Endowment Fund will enable more learners from financially disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher learning,” read UKZN’s statement.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

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