Each day we receive a lot of requests for financial assistance to study at university from students with heartwrentching stories. What makes me sad is that Adopt-a-learner does not have enough money to fund all the students who need the help. This is why we support free education for the poor.
So today I want to say to all the students, who do not have financial aid to study at university that if you are accepted and can register without the need to pay then just go there and register. Yes just do it even if you do not know where your next meal is going to come from. If all you need is R1500 to register then just do all you can to get that money and register with the faith that things will fall into place.
Sometimes all you need to do is take the first step with the faith that all will be fine. So go to the university and stand in that queue and then when your time comes tell them your story. Don’t give up! If you are accepted then let your results speak for you too. I remember doing this during my third year undergraduate study. This was a time when my younger sister was starting at the same university I was at in Mmabatho (North West) and so my parents had three children at university to fund and their money was not enough because none of us had bursaries. So I travelled with my sister to university and decided that she should have the money to register because she was doing first year and I will hustle for funds. The first day of registration I went to Garona building in Mmabatho and asked to see Mr Holele, who was the Minister of Education in the then Bophuthatswana Government. The officials told me how busy he was and I refused to go until he came out to talk to me. I told him my story and after an hour he gave me a letter confirming funding. Of course I also had my results to show him that it will not be a waste. Thinking about it now I wonder where I, daughter of unknown parents, got the guts to do that. It was faith!
Sometimes all you need is faith to take the first step! Yes I mean blind faith – just believe that something positive will happen even in the absence of any supporting evidence.
Last year while I was at Wits to give a speech to new students I met two students who had taken the first step of faith – one from KZN and the other from Soweto. They were accepted to study at Wits but had no funding. They decided to attend Orientation week even though they did not know how they were going to register. So after my speech at the end of the ceremony they followed me, waited until I finished talking to the many people who were waiting to speak to me. When their turn came they told me their story. I asked them a few questions and while one was genuinely poor the other had, in my view, an irresponsible dad who drives a BMW but doesn’t care much about paying for his education. Sad reality of our country! Of course I could imagine the dad and how show-off he will be the day the young man graduates. Anyway! At that time all our funds were already distributed, but somehow their story grabbed me and I made a few calls and within a week I had funding for both of them, not only to register but also to stay at varsity residence. Of course as it happens the two boys have now disappeared and are not keeping in touch despite my attempts – but that’s okay. Life has lessons for all of us.
The point I am making is that their step of faith got them funding. If they had just stayed at home because they do not have funding, I am sure they would still be at home right now, grumpy. So take that first step. I am not saying I will be able to help you but I am saying that if you just stay at home you might end up missing an opportunity. Because you don’t know who God has put in your path to offer you help. Take that step of faith!