More than 50 students joined community activist John Molepo at major intersections at the weekend when they went back to the streets to raise funds for university registration and tuition fees for disadvantaged students.
The Youth Empowerment Organisation (YEO), for the second consecutive weekend, gathered students and graduates to help in the fundraising initiative – #ThusaNgwanaGeno – which seeks to raise registration, accommodation and tuition fees for underprivileged students.
After helping seven students this year, Molepo, a PhD student at the Tshwane University of Technology, said their target was to help more than 50 students for the 2018 academic year. He said the youth of today were prone to turning to drugs and crime as they could not afford university fees.
“What motivated this is the disadvantaged child who lacks the opportunity of going to university. Some of us have had that personal experience of not being able to get funding. We decided to go out to motorists as some of them might have been in the same shoes and could assist,” he said.
Students and graduates dressed in graduation gowns held up placards on major roads such as Es’kia Mphahlele Drive in Pretoria West and parts of Menlyn, requesting motorists to “please donate to a first-year students’ registration fee”. Molepo said they raised enough money to register 13 students since the start of the initiative at the beginning of this month.
“We have also received donations into the organisation’s bank account. We are aiming to move to other provinces throughout the month. This campaign is to assist any student who seeks higher education, even if it’s at a college.”
A public administration student at TUT who graduates next year said he would not have completed his studies had it not been for the initiative. Pheto Matshwi said Molepo and the organisation paid his monthly rent this year and contributed to his registration fee every year.
“I have an absent father and my mother [is dead]. Therefore, I could not receive funding from NSFAS as I could not really complete and provide sufficient documentation.
“But, literally, if it wasn’t for John and the organisation, I wouldn’t be here today. I have completed my studies and will be graduating next year. I have been living at their behest the whole year,” he said.