By Gregg Bauer ~
Friday, 9 December 2016 sees the arrival in Smithfield of the student group Feet4Fees where they will overnight prior to continuing their 1000km long walk for education!
This is a movement initiated by students, for students. It started with one of the students, recognising the plight of fellow students, struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet. Often students will not have conducive living arrangements, cannot afford decent meals and would often tackle a full academic day without breakfast. Many do not have any local family support and have continuous stress about covering academic and personal expenses. Imagine the kind of perseverance required to complete your studies under such conditions? Often, very competent students then do not return for their next academic year, due to a lack of funds. Compelled to try and do something about this situation, StudyTrust, a bursary organisation, was approached with the idea to embark on a challenging walk in order to raise bursary funding. StudyTrust made current bursary beneficiaries aware of this idea and received an overwhelming response with 134 students signing up, wanting to plough back and make a difference to the lives of future students. The group consists of 15 students that will embark on the 1000km walk.
We recognise how vital the education of our generation (and every generation) is to building South Africa and believe that both the public and private sector need to address this issue.
We are a group of 15 students tackling this challenging walk, consisting of 3 ladies and 12 men. We range from 1st year of study, most of us in our 2nd or final year of study (our first degree!), whilst some are already doing post-graduate studies, such as Honours in Mathematics. A diverse range of study courses are covered, such as Accounting Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Social Sciences, Aeronautical engineering; Actuarial Sciences, Psychology and more!
We originate from all over South Africa, such as Soweto, Johannesburg, Tshepisong, Mabopane, Ganyesa (North West), Kwadlangezwa (KZN), Madodonga Village (Limpopo), KwaMhlanga (Mpumalanga) and more.
Herewith some commentary as to why we want to invest our time and energy into this initiative:
"I understand and can relate to having no financial support to fund your dreams. I believe education can change anyone our circumstances (speaking from experience). I used to walk to school every day and so I want other deserving students, not have their dreams shattered due to lack of funds."
"I have friends that can’t go the university, because of lack of funding. I believe this walk can help people like them to get the funding they deserve".
"I want to help give back. I want to help all the learners who are still in high school and doing very good, to get funding to get to university."
"It is a chance to change a life! I had been given a helping hand and it is now time for me to lend a helping hand."
"To help others and ensure that current and coming students get the privilege of higher education. I will also do this walk in honour of my late dad, who had an immense love for education."
"To create future breadwinners"
"We are digging wells so that others may drink."
"To quote Abraham Lincoln: "The best way to predict the future is to create it".