UWC professor extends helping hand to needy students

Student starvation stays a urgent matter and that is the place a college professor has stepped in as a substitute of ready for different organisations or the federal government.

Venicia McGhie a professor on the University of Western Cape (UWC) within the college of Economic and Management Sciences (EMS), present in her PhD findings in 2010 that many students research below troublesome circumstances.

Despite some being funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) they nonetheless go hungry, are unable to buy textbooks or have sufficient for transport. For McGhie that was eye opening.

“The overarching challenges was not having enough finances, it was not just about the fees but their every day challenges. Not having money for transport, food and stationery is what I found in my research. So I decided that my thesis was not going to sit on a shelf and I was going to do something,” McGhie mentioned

Project Making a Difference

She determined to take her findings to her college and colleagues, to be proactive and sensible by helping students. In April 2012 her non-profit organisation, Project Making a Difference, started.

She requested college employees to pledge at the very least R10 or no matter quantity from their wage to fund the project. From 40 staff initially donating and helping eight students, McGhie realised she wanted extra funders and efficiently discovered two sponsors.

The project assists financially needy students with month-to-month funds to purchase meals, research supplies and journey to and from campus.

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She mentioned many of the funds come from the college.

“Our regular staff donate something once a month or once a year. We also have two fundraisers, raffles and funding proposals,” she mentioned.

Students can method any lecturer of the college, writing to them about their wants, monetary struggles and what they want help with.

“Once you become part of the programme, the students specify their needs. Students can get up to R800 a month,” McGhie mentioned.

McGhie says the explanation students who’re funded by the NSFAS are battle day to day is due to the best way the fee packages are structure. Students get R2,000 vouchers that ought to final them three months.

This modified in 2019 with the Fees Must Fall motion. NSFAS now pays round R1,800 per 30 days for scholar journey, meals and books.

Project Making a Difference additionally elevated its month-to-month disbursements to R900 a month due to the added pressures introduced on by Covid-19. It is dedicated to seeing students helped month to month, not only for a small interval.

It is an NPO that’s shut to her coronary heart. McGhie needs its story to be advised and to assist many extra students, reaching all the college and never simply the EMS college.

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