Long (and Winding) Road to Freedom

When Lesedi passed Matric (12th grade) with a Bachelors’ Pass (the highest category possible) and was awarded a scholarship (from South Africa’s Deputy President, Paul Mashatile, no less!), she thought she was On Her Way. All she needed to do was pack her bags for North West University (NWU) and wait for the first semester to start so she could take up her place to study for a degree in Psychology.

However, within days, her dream of a university education and an independent financial future appeared to be in tatters.

Before she could take up her place – and trigger the release of her scholarship – she needed to pay a registration fee of R11 000 ($595). This was an impossible sum for her unemployed father to provide. Plus, she’d need to come up with a security deposit and rent to cover her first month’s accommodation, … and her transport to campus, 100km away … furnishings for her room … her food … and, her all-important course books… all while she waited for the scholarship to be paid.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of students found themselves in the same position this year, including some of our own Net Buddies.

Thankfully for Lesedi, a generous donor in our Infinite Family community made sure her initial costs would be covered.

Though, instead of biding their time knowing scholarship funding would come through, like Lesedi, the rest have been left frustrated and fearful as they wait for the National Financial Assistance Scheme (NSFAS) to process their funding applications.

Lesedi’s natural determination, plus the lessons in resilience she learned from Infinite Family, have served her in catching up and loving student life at NWU.  Her experience, however, has shone a very bright light on the ongoing difficulties our teens face as they transition from secondary to college/university without the support structures that kids from other communities take for granted.

Infinite Family is now establishing a task team, made up of IF staff, volunteers, and Net Blazer alums, to look at ways we can offer more proactive support as they navigate their way through this tricky time and lobby companies that offer scholarships, and NSFAS, to provide the funding earlier so young students can get the very best out of their university days from the very start. If you would like to support our teens and this troubleshooting team, please click here.

#education #highereducation  #graduate  #college  #justgettingstarted #justthestart #createopportunities #lifeskills #journey

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