Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Source: South Africa The Good News / www.sagoodnews.co.za [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons The death of Nelson Mandela at the age of 95 has been felt around the world.

For Trust supporters in the UK, it has been a time for reflection on the man and his legacy. Many will have joined in the tributes paid to him.

As a young man, Mandela himself struggled to get funding to support his studies and battled to make progress in the face of difficult circumstances. Documents from the archives relating to this tell a story that is all too familar to Trustees dealing with today’s needy students.

It underlines the importance of helping as best we can, in the knowledge that by making a difference we can offer hope for the future.

Donate online with Virgin Money Giving

Anyone wanting to make donations to the Trust to help fund its bursaries for needy students can now do so online using Virgin Money Giving for charities.

Simply go to www.virginmoneygiving.com, search for “University of KwaZulu-Natal UK Trust” and follow the steps to make your donation to the Trust.

Or you can go directly to the Trust’s page here.

Please Gift Aid your donation if you are an eligible UK taxpayer.

The Trustees believe the Virgin Money Giving service will make it simpler and easier for Trust supporters to make donations.

You can use Virgin Money Giving to create your own online sponsorship pages in aid of the Trust.

We urge you to bring in donations to the Trust through sponsored activities from marathon running to heritage walks or sponsored events from concerts to birthday appeals.

Simply set up your page following the instructions on the Virgin Money Giving site and let friends, family and other potential sponsors know, as well as the Trust.

We will be glad to assist.

E-mailing fails to deliver for Trust

The Trust used bulk e-mailing for its Summer 2013 newsletter in a bid to save costs, especially given the steep rise in the price of stamps. Unfortunately this was not a great success.

Some 400 newsletters and forms still had to be posted to alumni for whom we had no e-mail address. About 35 e-mail addresses were incorrect and the e-mail bounced back, but in addition about 200 could not be delivered. Most of these involved company or Google addresses where we believe the e-mail was blocked by spam filters.

Therefore we urge anyone who did not receive the Trust’s e-mailed newsletter in July to confirm their e-mail address and/or ensure that the Trust’s e-mail address – info@ukznuktrust.org – is in their online address book so that the Trust’s e-mails will not be blocked.

However, the response to the July appeal for donations was very poor – about half that following the previous mailing by post. A key point is that no donations were received in response to the Trust’s e-mail. The money that was received came in with forms that had been posted out.

As a result, the Trustees have taken the difficult decision to post out the Winter 2013-14  newsletter and donation form, despite the cost. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence about the ineffectiveness of bulk e-mails, given the volume that many people receive.

The Trust may well use e-mail again in the future (perhaps once or twice a year), but it is likely we will have to bear the costs of a mailshot by post at least once a year to ensure effective communication with alumni and supporters.

Trust supports 12 students in 2013

Student Funding Centre, UKZN

Students and helpers at the UKZN Student Funding Centre

The UKZN UK Trust is providing assistance to 12 needy students at the University in 2013 through its bursaries and the Margaret Thomas Scholarship – thanks to donations from alumni and supporters.

This is no mean achievement but pressure on the charity’s finances continues to reduce the number of bursaries we can provide. With less money available this year, the Trustees regret that the number of students being given support is one down on last year.

The needs of many poor students remain acute and we have been unable to offer help for many deserving cases. One such is a second-year Bachelor of Nursing student who comes from a family of seven with a total income equivalent to less than £800 a year. She has done well in her studies and has had very good grades, averaging 73%. Unfortunately we have been unable to include her on this year’s list of students receiving Trust bursaries, owing to lack of funds.

Your donations make possible the continuing education of students such as this who aspire to qualifications that will ensure their future employment and benefit the society as a whole.  The Trustees urge donors and supporters to give as generously as you can.

Trust appeals for e-mail addresses

The UKZN UK Trust is calling on alumni in the UK please to provide their e-mail addresses if they have not already done so through the Alumnus Office. This will allow the Trust’s newsletter to be e-mailed out, saving mailing costs.

The Trust has been hit by a significant escalation in the expense of posting out the newsletter, particularly as a result of the latest big increase in the price of stamps. The feedback received from alumni and supporters has been universally in favour of receiving the Trust’s newsletter and donation forms by e-mail rather than by post in future.

However, the Alumnus Association, on which the Trust relies for contact details of alumni, has e-mail addresses for only about two thirds of the alumni on the UK address list. Therefore it is very important to the Trust that everyone concerned should please provide an e-mail address – preferably by e-mailing info@ukznuktrust.org and copying to alumni@ukzn.ac.za

Alternatively, please go to alumniaffairs.ukzn.ac.za and use the online registration form. Thank you for your cooperation. The money saved from mailing costs will go to the Trust’s bursaries.

Supporters are also reminded that newsletters can be downloaded from the Trust’s website in PDF format.

The UKZN UK Trust is calling on alumni in the UK please to provide their e-mail addresses if they have not already done so through the Alumnus Association. This will allow the Trust’s newsletter to be e-mailed out, saving mailing costs.

The previous issue of the newsletter highlighted the significant escalation in the costs of posting out the newsletter, particularly as a result of the latest big increase in the price of stamps. The feedback received from alumni and supporters has been universally in favour of receiving the Trust’s newsletter and donation forms by e-mail rather than by post in future.

However, the Alumnus Association, on which the Trust relies for contact details of alumni, has e-mail addresses for only about two thirds of the alumni on the UK address list. Therefore it is very important to the Trust that everyone concerned should please provide an e-mail address – preferably by e-mailing info@ukznuktrust.org and copying to alumni@ukzn.ac.za

Alternatively, please go to alumniaffairs.ukzn.ac.za and use the online registration form. Thank you for your cooperation. The money saved from mailing costs will go to the Trust’s bursaries.

Trust supports 13 students in 2012

The UKZN UK Trust is providing assistance to 13 needy students at the University this year through its bursaries and the Margaret Thomas Scholarship – down from 14 last year.

The Trustees regret that pressure on the charity’s finances in the current difficult economic climate means there is less money available to support students in 2012. Meanwhile, the need for help for poorer students remains very high, with the Trust having to refuse many deserving cases.

The fact that 13 students are being helped is something of which the Trust’s donors can be justifiably proud – but the situation gives cause for concern as more funding is desperately needed. The Trustees therefore once again call upon alumni and supporters in the UK to give as generously as they can.

The money given by donors makes a huge difference to the lives of students, evidenced by the heartfelt messages of thanks received.

Five of the 13 students being assisted by the Trust this year also received Trust bursaries in 2011. The Trustees were pleased to be able to renew their awards in the light of very good results achieved by the students in their second year of study.

The five students are studying law or social work degrees requiring four years of full-time undergraduate study and therefore do not yet qualify for new state funding arrangements for the final year of study.

The Trustees have decided to award the Margaret Thomas Scholarship for 2012 to a second-year BA student, Siyabonga Innocent Nxumalo. He achieved good or excellent results in his first year of study, which covered courses including Philosophy, Classical Civilisation, Media Studies and Global Politics.

Girls’ ‘wizard’ show grips SA House guests

The Durban Girls’ College Choir and Orchestra circumvenDGC concert at South Africa Houseted Harry Potter mania on London’s Trafalgar Square to stage a well-received concert at South Africa House in aid of the University of KwaZulu-Natal UK Trust.

About 100 people attended the event on July 7, the highlight of a fortnight-long tour to the UK and Ireland. But performers and guests were unable to get into South Africa House via the main entrance because of the crush of Potter fans outside and had to find their way in through a side entrance. The girls – many of them Potter fans themselves – were given a wonderful albeit brief grandstand view of the wizardry going on on the Square from an upper window before they had to prepare for their concert.

The choir and orchestra performed a varied programme over an hour, including a unique “collage” of traditional African song and dance. Some numbers required audience participation, including waving the arms and ululating, or joining in beside the piano to sing with the choir. The guests took part enthusiastically. The choir was conducted by Ronel Perks, the orchestra by Teb Brian and piano accompaniment was by Kim Siedle.

DGC, established more than 100 years ago, has a rich performing arts heritage and includes luminaries such as the late Elizabeth Sneddon among its former pupils. Its choir performs regularly within the local community, including with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Richard Cock in the Playhouse Theatre, Durban, last year.

The school encourages music as a subject up to matric level and DGC girls selected for the choir’s tours have a very high singing standard. See the school’s website at www.dgc.co.za for more information.

Proceeds from donations to the Trust as a result of the concert are expected to run to around £500, with some donations still to come in.

Full house for girls’ concert

The South Africa House concert by the Durban Girls’ College Choir in aid of the UKZN UK Trust is now fully booked, with 100 people expected to The DGC Choir singsattend.

The Trustees are delighted by the excellent response to the event, which takes place on Thursday, July 7. Please note that no tickets will be available on the day. We regret any disappointment this may cause.

The choir will perform a varied programme over an hour, including a unique “collage” of traditional African song and dance. They will be accompanied by Ted Brien, Kim Siedle and Ronél Perks. The event will be a highlight of a two-week tour by the choir to the UK and Ireland.

DGC, established more than 100 years ago, has a rich performing arts heritage and includes luminaries such as the late Elizabeth Sneddon among its former pupils. Its choir performs regularly within the local community, including with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Richard Cock in the Playhouse Theatre, Durban, last year.

The school encourages music as a subject up to matric level and DGC girls selected for the choir’s tours have a very high singing standard. See the school’s website at www.dgc.co.za for more information.

For further information about the concert, or if you wish to be placed on a reserve list for seats, please e-mail the Trust at: info@ukznuktrust.org

There is no charge but donations to the Trust are requested.

Trust supports 14 students in 2011

The Trust is providing help for 14 students in 2011, a significant number but still down on the numbers it has assisted in recent years.

A hugely successful fundraising art exhibition, “Trust Artists”, took place at St Paul’s School in Barnes, South-West London, last autumn, raising £1,321 for the Trust. But, despite this, the Trust’s current finances mean it has been forced to send £1,000 less for student support this year than usual. Coupled with an exchange rate that continues to be less advantageous than it was a few years ago, there is simply less money available for the Trust’s bursaries and the Margaret Thomas Scholarship.

The Trustees therefore call upon donors and alumni to give as much as they can to allow the Trust to support as many students as possible.

Chair hears latest on student funding changes

Student Funding Centre, UKZN

Students and helpers at the Student Funding Centre

Significant changes to student funding arrangements are in hand, Trust Chair Roger Smith heard on a recent visit to the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Roger was delighted to be able to meet Richard Morrison at the Student Funding Centre and Desiree Govender at the Alumni Affairs Office during a short stay in Durban. Richard had some momentous news with regard to changes in student funding arrangements which have implications for the Trust.

The key point is that the SA Government has ambitious plans to provide full funding for undergraduate students’ fees. Already in the current year, steps are being taken to provide such funding for the final year of study for all undergraduates.

This means that the Trust will not be called upon to provide bursaries for most, if not all, third-year students this year. Instead, its bursaries will go mainly to second-year students and, for the first time, possibly to first-year students who have passed their first semester exams well.

SA ministers plan to use government spending cuts to fund the extension of financial support for undergraduates. It remains to be seen how this will be achieved for first and second year students in the future.

While the SA Government’s commitment to greater student support is welcome, it is clear the need among students remains very great and will continue to be so. The Trust receives a steady stream of appeals from students in desperate poverty, seeking assistance.

The Trustees will keep the situation under review and will amend the Trust’s strategies for support as necessary to ensure that its objects – to support the education of people in need at the University – continue to be met.

An example of just such a change came out of Roger’s meeting with Richard, in which it was proposed that the Margaret Thomas Bursary should be converted into a needs-based scholarship. That would mean the student could keep the award even if they secured other funding. The change was endorsed subsequently by the Trustees.

Roger conveyed the Trustees’ gratitude to Richard for the assistance he and his team have provided in handling the Trust’s bursaries over many years. Richard is due to retire at the end of next year but made clear he wants to be able to leave a lasting legacy in terms of sound administration. This will provide reassurance to Trustees and donors alike.

Roger later had a useful meeting with Desiree and other members of the Alumni Affairs team. He thanked her for her help with the address labels used for Trust mailings and discussed the possibilities of making better use of electronic media to reach alumni in the UK. It is hoped to take several ideas forward this year.