Over the past three years, the Kouga Wind Farm bursary programme has helped 33 students to study a range of courses at tertiary institutions across South Africa.
The programme, administered by Masinyusane, covers everything from tuition and books to transport and accommodation. This year, students who had to return home during lockdown also received laptops for online learning. In return, students must pass 75% of their courses each year.
Three bursary holders are completing their studies this year. Damelin student Vathiswa Ntshota will complete her three-year Diploma in Human Resources Management. Originally from Keiskammahoek, she “came to St Francis Bay to look for work. I can never express how grateful I am to Kouga Wind Farm for the difference the bursary has made to my life. It came at a time when I really needed it, and it meant that I had no financial worries – even when I went home during lockdown.”
Capsicum Culinary School student Kelly Smith is finishing the practical portion of her pastry chef qualification. She hails from a family of bakers, so this is a dream come true. “A year ago, I would not have believed that this could happen. Then I saw the advertisement and I just knew that I wanted it.” She plans to start her own catering company and become a food blogger.
Another Capsicum student is Ziyanda Sotafile. After matriculating, she worked as a coffee shop cashier, but soon learned to bake. Currently, she works at the St. Francis Links, hopes to continue studying the Food and Beverage programme and to one day own a catering business specialising in seafood.
Paying it forward
Bursary holders are expected to pay it forward and commit 50 hours per year to volunteer work in their communities.
Second-year BA student Mekyle Solomon, from Jeffreys Bay, volunteers at the Kruisfontein Primary School feeding scheme. “It has taught me the meaning of selflessness and of having a sense of responsibility,” he says. Mekyle is determined to qualify as a teacher, or to continue studying child psychology at Nelson Mandela University.
Nicole Jantjies is a first-year BA student studying English and Psychology at NMU. “This programme has taught me to become more sociable, “ says shy Nicole. She volunteered as a tutor with the Grade 12 finishing programme for adults and says she has been humbled to realise that not everyone has access to the same educational opportunities.