Trust student set to campaign on climate change concerns

Cedar Falls Zothani Mthembu One of the students being supported by the Trust in its 30th anniversary year has voiced his ambition to help address the impact of global warming. Zothani Mvelo Mthembu, 24, told the trustees that his dream was “to see everyone … playing their part in reducing carbon emissions so that the world [can] be a better place for all, including future generations”.

buy genuine isotretinoin Zothani is studying for a Bachelor of Social Science degree, majoring in Geography and Political Science. He said he chose those subjects because he wanted to gain an understanding of the impact of humans on the environment. Writing ahead of the recent COP 26 climate change conference, he said he was focusing on how different countries contributed to carbon emissions and how they were managing them.

Zothani hopes to work with deprived communities on environmental challenges and improving food security. His initiatives will aim to provide suitable jobs for disadvantaged or disabled youths.

Zothani’s comments were among those received from the 15 students being helped by the Trust in 2021. The trustees are pleased to be able to share a sample of the students’ views in the latest issue of Trust News.

*** Please give generously to support our students ***

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Trust News Winter 2021-22

View the Trust’s latest newsletter here: Trust News Winter 2020-21 (PDF 301KB).

An email about the Winter 2020-21 issue of Trust News, with reports on the students being helped by the charity, was sent to alumni and supporters in the UK on 26th November. Recipients were asked to access the newsletter via this page using the link above.

The email was sent without attachments or direct links to try to avoid being blocked by spam filters.

Please contact us if you did not receive the email. We would be grateful if you would let us have your e-mail address if you have not previously done so by emailing info@ukznuktrust.org and copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

Please add the two email addresses to your online address books or contact lists to help prevent our communications being blocked.

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Trust co-founder Will Simpson remembered

The trustees were saddened to hear news of the death of Trust co-founder Will Simpson on 7th July 2021 at his home in Wincanton, Somerset.

His wife June said the Trust’s Summer newsletter, celebrating the charity’s 30th anniversary and paying tribute to Will’s part in its foundation in 1991, arrived just days after he passed away.

She said: “I remember how much the enterprise meant to him and how the group made every effort to get the wording right and to make the launch effective.” She believes he would have been delighted to have known what the Trust is still able to achieve.

The trustees are grateful to June and the children, Harold, Lucy and Victoria, for a generous donation of £500 to the Trust in Will’s memory. His contribution will not be forgotten.

The family lived for many years in Canterbury, where Will was Librarian for the University of Kent and fostered a relationship with the Cathedral Library. A message of condolence from the University said Will’s time there “was characterised by forward-thinking and efficient management, together with a deep dislike of red tape and paperwork”. It praised him for having been always approachable and helpful.

Trust Chair Roger Smith remembers Will’s commitment to the development of the charity in the 1990s and how pleased he was at the increasing numbers of students that were being helped, from what he said was an original ambition to provide bursaries for perhaps just one or two students.

Will stepped down as a trustee in order to focus on other charitable commitments but remained a dedicated supporter, for which the trustees were always grateful.

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Trust celebrates 30th year of helping students in need

A small group of five alumni living in the UK gathered at an office in Snow Hill in the City of London on 4th January 1991 with a simple objective – to set up a charity to raise funds to help needy students at the University. They believed fellow alumni in the UK would want to support such an effort, recognizing the massive challenges facing those from low-income households wanting a university education.

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The group went on to register the Trust as a charity in England and Wales in July that year and started with the modest ambition of providing bursaries for one or two students. A letter was sent to alumni in the UK, highlighting the loss to communities and South Africa when capable people were unable to pursue university studies because they could not afford fees or living costs.

The letter recounted the stories of two young people, named only as Mlungisi and Judith, who had been unable to attend university because of the cost, despite showing promise at school. The Trust’s appeal struck a chord with alumni who wanted to help – and, within a few years, it was able to assist many more needy students than originally envisaged.

Now, in its 30th year, the Trust is providing help for 15 students through bursaries and top-up allowances in 2021. Over three decades, the Trust has been able to give support to around 350 needy students in total, all of them with stories similar to those of Mlungisi and Judith.

The five alumni at that January 1991 meeting were: Granville Easter, Hugh Parry, Will Simpson, Margaret Thomas and Colin Turpin. They could have had little idea at the time how their efforts would pay off in the years that have followed.

Thanks to them, their successors as trustees, and alumni and supporters in the UK, the Trust has been able to make a difference to the lives of the students it helps and, hopefully, to their communities and South Africa.

As the Trust celebrates its 30th anniversary, the need to help students from low-income households remains as great as ever. Please give generously to help support the Trust’s students. Go to the Donate page on this site.

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Trust News Summer 2021

The Summer 2021 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, marking the Trust’s 30th anniversary, has been posted out to alumni and supporters in the UK.

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 previously done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Summer 2021 (PDF 410KB).

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Trust student tells of struggles amid pandemic

Thabo LangaA 21-year-old medical student has provided an insight into the challenges being faced by those trying to pursue their studies at the University during the Covid-19 virus crisis. Thabo Phakamani Langa is one of the 18 needy students being helped by the Trust in 2020.

He told the Trustees earlier in the year he was “barely coping” with the circumstances brought about by the pandemic. He said schedules and plans for the academic year had been disrupted and this had had a negative effect on his studies.

“Things were bad at the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown where the University resorted to online learning,” Thabo said. “The environment at home was not favourable to that kind of learning at all. The internet connection was bad… My house is too crowded, I couldn’t focus on my studies.”

He said the situation had improved with the easing of virus restrictions, allowing students to return to residences and for courses to progress online “with no limitations”. But he voiced concern about losing clinical experience which he felt posed a threat to “the quality of doctor I’m destined to become”.

Thabo said he was deeply grateful for the Trust’s help, given the burden of historical debt for his studies and poor finances at home.

  • See the latest newsletter for more accounts from students being helped by the Trust in 2020.
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Trust News Winter 2020-21

The Winter 2020-21 issue of the UKZN UK Trust’s newsletter, Trust News, is being emailed to alumni and supporters in the UK by the university’s Alumni Affairs team on the Trust’s behalf.

The usual postal mailing has not been feasible during the pandemic. 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 previously done so, copying in the Alumni Affairs team at Alumni@ukzn.ac.za

View Trust News Winter 2020-21 (PDF 230KB).

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Trust’s help goes to more students in 2020 amid virus crisis

The Trust is giving support to 18 needy students in 2020, up from 13 last year, amid a surge in hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The increase in the numbers being helped at this critical time comes thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Trust’s donors and supporters.

The assistance is going to six honours students in the form of Trust bursaries and the Margaret Thomas Scholarship and to 12 undergraduates in the form of top-up assistance for meals and textbooks.

The selections include many students of medicine, which would appear to be appropriate at this time, but others are studying courses in a range of disciplines such as engineering, science, social science and the arts.

You can make a vital difference in the current extremely difficult circumstances by giving as generously as you can to the Trust.

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Vice-Chancellor’s appeal in response to coronavirus pandemic

Many alumni in the UK and elsewhere will have received an email from UKZN’s Alumni Relations team containing an appeal from Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Nana Poku for help in response to the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the university, students and staff.

Prof Poku urged alumni to assist in any way they could, saying: “Contributions both large and small — financial, physical and in kind (including professional services) — are all sorely needed.”

He declared: “I appeal to your fellow feeling, generosity of spirit and appreciation of the difference a university education can bring to individual and community life. Please help us to ensure that the current generation of students — and the University of KwaZulu-Natal — can continue our work.”

Prof Poku’s full statement can be found here.

:: Supporters of the Trust and its efforts to help to needy students at the university will be aware that if they are UK taxpayers they can boost any donations to the Trust by using gift aid. We urge alumni in the UK to consider this option.

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Trust student’s illness inspired him to study to become a doctor

One of the 13 students being helped by the Trust in 2019 has given the Trustees a powerful account of how the challenge of living with his own health problems led him to study medicine.

Tshepo Khene, 25, says he chose to pursue a MBChB degree “mostly because of personal reasons as I was born with some chronic illness”. He declares: “I was curious and wanted to understand more about the illness so that, in turn, I could … assist those people like myself with this illness.”

Tshepo tells of growing up in a remote rural area and having to travel a long distance to see a doctor. “At times I would be in excruciating pain and would be forced to stay in our local hospital for the whole night, whilst waiting for a doctor to come to see me – and many other patients before me – in the morning.”

He says he wants to be able to make a difference in his community and inspire young people to follow his example, “to dream big and that … everything is possible”. Tshepo adds: “Sometimes you need to be your own role model.” He would like to study further after graduating and hopes to specialise in neurosurgery or oncology.

Tshepo’s story finds echoes in some of the accounts given by other students of medicine being helped by the Trust.

Andile Makhowana, 24, also speaks of coming from a poverty-stricken rural area where people have difficulty accessing health care.

He says: “I love medicine. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to become a doctor. I grew up in an area where getting to a health facility is a problem because it is very far. I’ve seen people suffer because of that.”

Andile says he wants to provide “a helping hand” to his community. He wants to specialise in family medicine and rural health and dreams of opening a community health centre.

Mnqobi Ntuthuko Ndwandwe, 22, says: “I chose medicine because where I grew up in Nongoma there were no doctors … People in my community, even my family members, paid a lot of money for doctors in town because in our clinics there are no doctors.”

It became “a dream for me to make a difference in my community”, he says, adding he wants to be a role model to show a career in medicine is possible “even if you come from a poor background like me”.

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