Students tell of hopes and aspirations

The 12 young people being helped by the Trust in 2018 have provided moving accounts of their circumstances in pursuing their university studies. The debt they owe to Trust donors and supporters is clear.

Here is just a sample of the messages received:

Sanelisiwe Mahapeletsa, 32, was inspired to study medicine (MBCHB) after the death of her father from high blood pressure which resulted in cardiac failure.

She says: “It came to me that I can make a difference and save lives … (by becoming) a medical professional who will advocate for promotion of health in disadvantaged communities.” She is interested in neurosurgery and drug research, saying: “I believe if medicine can find more curative drugs, life can be better for all.”

Thando Masiko, the recipient of the Margaret Thomas Scholarship, is studying a BA (Honours) degree in Media and Cultural Studies. He says passion drove him to his course of study.

He believes working in the media industry could allow him to have significant influence “to change the world for the better”.

Thando sees himself as a storyteller. He hopes that by sharing his stories he will be able to influence and shape the future “with relevant and constructive content”.

He has ambitions to run his own media company, using TV broadcasting and online platforms.

Amanda Nyawose, 20, is studying for a BSc degree in Environmental Earth Science. She has been drawn to the combination of courses in hydrology, environmental science, soil science and agro-meteorology.

She voices concern about pressures on the environment and the speed of environmental change. She says many people are not aware of the stress they are placing on the environment. Amanda hopes to help find water-saving solutions, given the problems of poor water quality and water scarcity, and a rapidly growing population.

Samokelisiwe Dube, 20, who is pursuing a BSc in Geological Sciences (20), says geology has been a passion since childhood: “I always marvelled at the gigantic hills of Mother Nature … I am motivated by curiosity and a deep desire to understand some of the grandest and most beautiful phenomena on earth …”

She says that after graduating she wants to “give back to the community, country and my geologically blessed homeland”. She adds: “My ultimate goal is to be a responsible citizen and serve the beautiful land that nurtured me, with integrity.”

Mfanelo Mkhize, 19, is studying a BSc in Mechanical Engineering. He says he has been fascinated by machines since early in his life and loves engineering.

He wants to use mechanical engineering to help improve people’s lives. He declares: “From the villages … I knew as a child, I know the challenges faced by the poor.”

He has ambitions to progress steadily in a career in engineering, perhaps even setting up his own consulting company one day, creating jobs for other engineers.

Duane Naidoo, 23, says his enthusiasm for his studies for a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science stems from “being able to create something viable and contribute to the community with only the tool of a PC”. He enjoys the problem-solving aspects of practical programming.

He is keen to advance his skills and knowledge to pursue a career in IT, perhaps running his own company one day.

Sinothile Makhatini, 22, is looking to use the skills and knowledge acquired from a BSc (Hons) in Geography and Environmental Management to help address social, environmental and economic issues. She is enthusiastic about the practical fieldwork, research and analysis used to arrive at solutions for a particular problem.

Sinothile hopes to work in the management of natural resources or conservation. “It will be my duty to ensure the monitoring and sustainable use of (scarce) resources by enforcing compliance with resource usage regulations and laws,” she says.

Simphiwe Ndlovu, 21, studying medicine (MBCHB), says: “Since I was a child, I wanted to be a medical doctor. I love to help people and that is what I would be doing as a doctor.”

He adds that he was attracted by the fact “doctors are respected for being kind and offering their services to help people in (their) communities get better when they are sick”. He is keen to specialise in cardiology and help save people with heart problems.

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Trust News Winter 2018-19

The Winter 2018-19 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, was posted out to alumni and supporters in the UK recently.

Please contact us if you did not receive the newsletter. We would also be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not already done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Winter 2018-19 (PDF).

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Trust gives help to 12 needy students

The Trust is providing assistance for 12 needy students in 2018, geared to new circumstances following an expansion of state aid for students.

In the past, the Trust’s bursaries met some or all of the cost of tuition fees for needy undergraduates. But now the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is covering fees for many such students. After consultation with the University, the Trustees opted to provide some bursaries for needy students studying for honours degrees and to use the rest of the available funding to provide needy undergraduates with top-up grants for the purchase of textbooks and meals.

This decision means that in 2018 the Margaret Thomas Scholarship has been awarded to a BA (Honours) student, Thando Masiko, while Trust bursaries have been given to four other honours students in the fields of computer science, environmental science and microbiology.

Textbook and meal grants are being provided for seven undergraduate students across a range of disciplines including medicine and engineering. All the students receiving help are from families with gross household incomes below R122,000 (below about £7,200) per annum.

While the new state aid has made a difference, the level of hardship experienced by many poorer students remains a significant problem.

The University has assured the Trustees of the continuing need for the Trust’s support – particularly for a group defined as the “missing middle”, those students who do not qualify for NSFAS funding but are unable to afford higher education owing such factors as large family size relative to household income or coming from a single-parent family.

The University says there are thousands of students from poor households in need of top-up funding for textbooks, meals and accommodation. But the Trust is only able to provide such help for just seven students this year.

To enable the Trust’s valuable work to continue, the Trustees urge alumni and supporters in the UK once again to give as generously as you can. Even the smallest contribution can make a difference.

Please consider a one-off donation or a regular standing order, using the giving form enclosed with this newsletter. Remember gift aid can boost your donation if you are a UK taxpayer.

You may also wish to consider other ways of giving, such as through a legacy. See the Donate page on the Trust’s website at www.ukznuktrust.org for further information.

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Trust bids to comply with new data protection laws

The Government has made clear that there is no exemption for small charities such as the Trust when it comes to compliance with new data protection laws. This has placed an onerous regulatory burden on these bodies and the unpaid volunteers who give their time and effort to run them.

Nevertheless, preservation of your privacy is important to the Trust and we are committed to letting you know how we use your personal information and to making only responsible use of your data.

To this end, we would like to draw your attention to the Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions pages that have been added in the About section of the Trust’s website at www.ukznuktrust.org

Please be aware that the Trust needs to hold the data of alumni and supporters who have made donations to the Trust – specifically: name, address, email address and, in the case of donations by standing order or by bank transfer, bank details. This applies particularly where a donation has been gift aided.

To avoid any doubt, we have added a tick-box on the Trust’s giving form so you can provide explicit permission for us to hold this personal data. Please make sure you tick this box when making a donation using the form.

Please make permission explicit in any email communication with us, particularly if it relates to a donation by bank transfer. If making a donation using Virgin Money Giving, their privacy policy applies: see www.virginmoneygiving.com

We always have asked in our newsletters that you should make sure the Alumni Relations Office and the Trust have your up-to-date contact details. This is now more important than ever. Remember to email alumni@ukzn.ac.za and info@ukznuktrust.org to advise of changes.

You have the right to request access to the personal data we hold about you in our records. We will be glad to meet any such request.

Please contact us if you have any queries.

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Trust News Summer 2018

The Summer 2018 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, was emailed in July to alumni and supporters in the UK and posted to those for whom we do not have email addresses.

Please contact us if you did not receive the newsletter. We would also be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not already done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Summer 2018 (PDF).

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Trust News Winter 2017-18

The Winter 2017-18 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, was posted out to alumni and supporters in the UK recently.

Please contact us if you did not receive the newsletter. We would also be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not already done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Winter 2017-18 (PDF 347KB).

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Student’s story of hardship underlines need to back Trust

Trust bursary recipient Sinenhlanhla Khumalo struggles with poverty and with studying in English – but with hard work she has been able to pass her exams. In thanking the Trust for its financial help, she has provided an illuminating account of the difficulties she faces.

She writes: “In the absence of both my parents, my grandmother raised me using social grant, the money she got from selling traditional beer, mats and grass used for roofing. My grandfather did informal jobs but unfortunately died in 2007. My grandmother does everything in her power to make sure that we do not starve.
“I went to the local primary school where the level of education was very poor. They taught everything in Zulu, even English … We did not have computers … I did not have enough opportunity to practise English and as a result it is difficult for me to study at University.”

Sinenhlanhla, who is studying for a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, pays tribute to her secondary school where, despite a lack of facilities, she became one of the top performing learners.
She says: “I thank them for the person I am today … It did not have a library or a laboratory for our practicals but the teachers were very good at their jobs … They made sure they did all they could with the little that they had.”

Sinenhlanhla continues: “Life hasn’t been easy for me at the University.” Despite the financial help she has received in the current year, she still has fees outstanding from her first year of study, which could hold her back from obtaining her degree. She says: “That affects me negatively, I won’t lie, but I try not to focus on it too much.”

Turning to her studies, Sinenhlanhla says: “I do get unsatisfactory results sometimes but I work hard to make sure that I do not fail in the end.” She chose pharmacy as she is seeking “a dynamic, people-oriented career in health care”. She notes there were no pharmacies in the rural area where she grew up.
She declares: “I am a hard worker and will try all I can to complete my degree in record time.”
Please help Sinenhlanhla and students like her by making a donation to the Trust. Even the smallest contribution can make a difference.

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Trust News Summer 2017

The Summer 2017 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, was emailed in July to alumni and supporters in the UK and posted to those for whom we do not have email addresses.

Please contact us if you did not receive the newsletter. We would also be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not already done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Summer 2017 (PDF).

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Fresh appeal as fewer students are helped

The number of students the Trust is able to help has fallen again this year – down to 11 now from 14 last year.

It underlines the need for Trust donors and supporters to give as generously as they can. Trustees are launching a fresh appeal for donations this Summer.

Once again the main reason for the decline in numbers is that more of the students awarded Trust bursaries in 2017 qualified for a higher level of funding as a result of achieving higher grades. The Trust sent about the same amount of funding this year as it did in previous years but the money simply did not stretch to cover as many students as before.

Another factor is the exchange rate, which remains much less favourable to the Trust when sending bursary funds to South Africa than in some years past.

The fact that academic success is rewarded provides reassurance to donors that the students concerned are more likely to graduate and go on to have successful careers. But it is regrettable that the Trust can help only a fraction of the students who qualify for help under the criteria of need.

Student funding remains a major issue although government action and new forums appear to have taken some of the heat out of the situation.

Once again, the Trustees call on alumni and Trust supporters to give as best you can so the Trust can continue its work making a real difference to students’ lives and the wider society.

Please make a donation. The easiest way to give is via the Virgin Money Giving website at www.virginmoneygiving.com

Simply search for the University of KwaZulu-Natal UK Trust and follow the simple steps to make your donation, making sure you include a Gift Aid Declaration if you are a UK taxpayer.

Other information about how to give can be found on the Donate page.

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Trust News Winter 2016-17

The Winter 2016-17 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, was posted out in November to alumni and supporters in the UK. Those opting for email communication may download the newsletter using the link below.

Please contact us if you did not receive the newsletter. We would also be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not already done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Winter 2016-17 (PDF 314KB).

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