The future of six first-year maths, science, and technology students has just become brighter after they were awarded bursaries, thanks to a joint initiative between the Community Chest of the Western Cape and technology company Thales South Africa Systems.
The Thales Education Project, which awarded the bursaries, is a partnership between Thales and the Community Chest which was launched in 2014.
Excitement surged through the hall as the names of the beneficiaries and their former principals were called on the stage, on Tuesday April 19.
The recipients are former pupils of Joe Slovo and Sizimisele high schools in Khayelitsha, Khanyolwethu High in Lwandle, Kleinvlei and Forest Heights high schools in Eerste River, and Malibu High School in Blue Downs.
Last year six bursaries were awarded, and this year a further six recipients were awarded bursaries to the value of R100 000 each, to cover the cost of their tuition.
According to the investors, the five-year “Fast Tracking Pathways to Success” project will run until 2018, with the aim of assisting maths and science students to gain entry into tertiary institutions.
The recipients are also provided with maths and science kits to facilitate learning.
Thales chief executive officer, Justice Tootla, encouraged students to grab opportunities given to them, warning that there would be obstacles and people who would try to demoralise them. But, he said, they should remain focused.
“Some will ask you why you care about what you are doing. Do not let anyone define you or derail you,” he said.
Mr Tootla said he was happy his company is making difference in poor communities. He said it was crucial for the company to develop communities.
Community Chest chief executive officer Lorenzo Davids made a passionate plea to beneficiaries to build the nation.
He said for the nation to thrive, students needed to commit themselves to life. He thanked parents and teachers for the work and support they gave to the students.
“To the teachers, we bow in their presence. They are the structure after the structure. They always do a sterling job. To parents who stood by their children all the times – every toy they broke at supermarkets and you had to pay, every bowl of porridge they did not want to eat but forced them and every vomit on their laps, it’s all worth it now. Surely they all look back and say it was worth it,” he said.
Former Joe Slovo pupil, Wonke Mahlombe, who is studying towards an electrical engineering degree at the Cape Peninsula Technology University (CPUT), said he would not have been able to continue his studies had he not received a bursary.
He said his granny’s old age grant would not have taken him anywhere.
“This is a dream come true. I prayed for this bursary since last year. And now my prayers have been answered.
“It’s almost like they knew that I really needed this. It is my time to shine now,” he said.
Former Sizimisele pupil, Magdalena Payi, who wanted to make her single mother proud, said she wanted to inspire young women to stretch themselves. She said she would use her talent to better not only herself but her community as well.
“Being raised by a single mother and seeing her trying all she could to give the best life to me has made me push hard in life. She has always been there for me. The Thales bursary has made my dream a reality. I promise to make my mother proud,” she said.