P o box 294 Rondebosch 7701

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AFRICAN SCHOLARS’ FUND (ASF)

Non-Profit Organisation 002-838 (established 1970)

P O Box 294 Rondebosch 7701


Tel: (021) 689 9094 Fax: (021) 689 9095 email: office@asf.org.za www.asf.org.za
NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2008

The difference you make in someone else’s life will always be smaller than the difference it makes in your own life...” Author unknown




Besides efficiently continuing with our core function of identifying, awarding and managing bursaries, we are pleased that the following achievements were realized within the first half of the year:




  • The ASF website got a facelift [staff will undergo training in the new year to maintain the website in-house]

  • We produced a Student Support Workbook and successfully presented workshops at FET colleges in Port Elizabeth and East London

  • We produced a grade 9 and a grade 12 Advice Booklet that can be used on its own or be workshopped [approved by the Department of Education]

  • Visits to schools in the Northern Cape were undertaken by Margaret & Bee Elsworth, whilst office staff paid visits to the local schools in Heideveld, Guguletu and Khayelitsha.

  • The independence of TECSAT was formalized [ASF continues to perform an administrative function]

JUNE EXAM RESULTS

Of the 2484 bursars registered on our database, 2055 sent us their June results and 1347 qualified for their second payment. An area of concern and one we are closely monitoring is the very low grade average for maths and maths literacy (as reflected in the June school reports). Matriculants are in the process of writing their year-end exam and it is with great anticipation that we await their results, since this will be the first time that exams are written based on the new curriculum. We wish all our bursars and their fellow learners the very best with their final exams.

At FET level we are pleased to report a mid-year pass rate of 92%. Bursaries had been awarded to 141 students, costing a little over R500 000.


WHAT OUR LEARNERS HAD TO SAY

Thembela– “My mother came back from Cape Town during April and she was sick. I had to look after her, unfortunately for me she passed away during my mid-year exam and I was under a lot of stress. The death of my mother destructed me in many ways, I did not focus on my studies, I was very angry at everyone and mostly I blamed myself because I think I could have done something to prevent her death.....

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Akhona– “...It was hard to send my report to you knowing that I didn’t do so good in my school work due to family conflicts, but I know we have found common ground. I know that you are my only family that will help to illuminate the path for me, you are the center of my universe....”.
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Mlamli– “ the thing that affected my school work is my family problems because they send me in Eastern Cape to circumcise to become a manhood, but in my report you can see that I start showing my improvement in my September report.



It just makes one think, doesn’t it ...

Appreciating what you have little of is easy – Appreciating what you have lots and lots of takes a true spiritual master”.



A “MUST READ” LETTER OF APPRECIATION FROM A GR12 LEARNER

This letter is intended as a token of gratitude from me to you for all your troubles taken in seeing me through my high school career.


I am especially grateful for financial assistance received and your invaluable school learners guidance booklet which shall be indispensable in my preparation for tertiary and future careers.

It’s imperative for me to inform you that your efforts were not in vain. I am very strengthened and confident that I shall pursue my studies to extreme horizons.

Secondly, it is with warm-heartedness and genuine sincerity that I thank your selfless generosity in your assistance towards my studies. I hope and pray that the same could be extended to other needy and deserving people. Your personal correspondence made me feel that you are my extended family in deeds and gesture.

Last, but not least, I would like to assure you that as a girl and a South African I shall take it upon me to be tremendous use to the upliftment of the women in particular and my other country men in general, lifting others as I move along

Yours sincerely – Aseza

To our loyal donors, supporters and volunteers, a huge “thank you” - we know that you too feel richly blessed in knowing that you continue to make a tangible difference in the lives of so many.

VIRTUOSA TURNS HEARTBREAKING TALE INTO A SONG OF TRIUMPH

Virtuosa is a high profile Tourism Association based in America. Virtuosa Africa Destinations is a member of this Association and in August of every year an annual conference sees hundreds of Tour Operators get together. This year, Virtuosa Africa Destinations invited over 200 Southern African Specialists to a private lunch (hosted in Las Vegas). Instead of their usual raffle where an agent wins a 14 day holiday to SA, they decided on selecting an agent on whose behalf Virtuosa Africa Destinations would sponsor a child at school for a year. The winning agent would be allowed to communicate directly with the identified scholar and have the option of continuing with sponsorship in the years that follow.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances of one of our young grade 8 learners (as mentioned in our April newsletter) yet displaying such a fighting spirit, so touched the hearts of the Virtuosa Africa Destinations Team that they elected her to be the beneficiary of this opportunity. Her ability to rise above her situation is said to have brought tears and a deep sense of humility to all those present.
The ASF is pleased to administer the bursary awarded to this very special learner and are as elated as she is at being given the opportunity to “attend a more functional school closer to home, be able to pay her school fees, have a proper uniform, not have a shortage of books and stationery, and be given the opportunity to communicate directly with her sponsor in America”.
Thank you Virtuosa Africa Destinations for this wonderfully thoughtful gesture !!!



SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS

The Yvonne Parfitt Bursary - hard work throughout the year and good results bears dividends for two of our grade 12 learners. Our heartiest congratulations go to Khanyile Xashimba (gr12 @ Alexander Sinton High School) and Julia (gr12 @ COSAT, Mitchells Plain) for having been awarded with bursaries from the Yvonne Parfitt Trust. Khanyile intends to become a chartered accountant and plans to study at UCT, whilst Julia plans to attend either UCT or Stellenbosch University to further her studies in the medical field. We wish them every success.
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The Mears Award (Western Cape) – awarded to the learner with the best grade 10 mark. This year we presented to Lee Anne Fisher – Intlanganiso High School in Khayalitsha and Akhona Makeleni – Gugulethu Comprehensive School. Our heartiest congratulations go to both these deserving learners.

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The Mary Livingstone Essay90 learners entered, but no outright winner was selected. However, consolation prizes were awarded to Ziyanda Mkhwebula – Percy Mdala High School (Knysna) and Luyolo Madasi – Masiphathisane Senior Secondary School (Port Elizabeth). Congratulations – a good effort that was justly awarded.
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The Margaret Elsworth Award – will be given to a grade 12 learner that has been with the ASF for atleast his/her grade 10 - 12 and is an “all rounder” – i.e academically strong, participates in sport and is involved in the community. An amount of R500, plus certificate will be presented annually in Jan/early Feb. 2009 will be the first time that this award is to be presented to honour our founder in acknowledgement of her many years of service to the community.

SUCCESS AT THE WORLD SKIPPING ROPE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Sibusiso Mabele, one of our grade 12 learners (Masiyele SSS - Khayelitsha) took part in the 2008 World Skipping Rope Championships that took place at the Cape Town Convention Centre from 23rd to 30 July this year. Sibusiso represented South Africa and competed against candidates from 19 other countries. AND he came away with 3 bronze and 1 silver medal! Congratulations Sibusiso – we are all so very proud of you. Sibusiso plans to register for mechanical or electrical engineering at CPUT in 2009.


BUILDING ONTO OUR SUCCESS

During February, the ASF successfully presented student support workshops at FET colleges in Port Elizabeth (Iqhayiya campus) and East London (John Knox campus). The positive impact, coupled with feedback from the campus staff and students prompted the FNB Fund to sponsor the follow up workshops which took place during the first week in October.

It is also with gratitude that we acknowledge FNB’s sponsorship of the 2 days training undertaken at the ITEC centre in East London. A huge thank you goes out to ITEC for offering to share life skills and guidance training of ASF staff free of charge. Their support and selfless sharing of knowledge was an act of extraordinary kindness and generosity.

ONE MEANINGFUL STEP AT A TIME

We look forward to adding value to the already invaluable financial assistance and correspondence based guidance the ASF renders to its bursars by presenting workshops specifically at the grade 9 level. The Advice Booklet developed in-house received the Western Cape Educational Department’s stamp of approval and is now ready to be workshopped. Our bursars should thus be more focussed and better informed when making those crucial decisions when it comes to which subjects to choose and which career path is better suited to their talents, abilities and personalities. What an exciting time lies ahead for ASF !!!



IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LIKE-MINDED NGOs

Imbewu SA (Port Elizabeth) – a partnership at FET College level. Imbewu SA will initially identify, screen and assist potential students in completing the ASF application forms. Should these students meet our criteria, the ASF will pay their fees and Imbewu commits to offering additional support (i.e. morale support, textbooks, transport and a contribution towards food whilst at campus). ASF and Imbewu SA will share responsibility for and take shared credit for the success of the students.

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The Oliver Foundation (Port Elizabeth) – a partnership at school level where the foundation will, if necessary, act in the capacity of “bursary representative” – i.e. identify learners (via principals and social workers), ensure that learners receive their awards, that reports are sent timeously and that school visits be arranged when ASF staff are in Port Elizabeth.
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REAP (Western Cape) – a partnership at “school into tertiary” level where the academic progress of learners, in the FET stage, will be monitored and tracked so that they can be identified and actively mentored from as early as grade 11 level with regards to career path and assistance with entry into tertiary institutions.

SO MUCH MORE TO SHARE...

We say goodbye, but definitely not farewell, to Will Rollo, Hilda Barry and Chris Orpen – longstanding and loyal trustees. May we take this opportunity of thanking you most sincerely for your wonderful support, encouragement and words of wisdom. You are most welcome to pop into the office any time. PS - the staff love carrot cake .


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And a very warm welcome to newly appointed trustees – John Gardener (who previously served as trustee and Chairman), Biddy Greene, Wendy Moult and Mark Solomon. The organisation is bound to benefit hugely from your expertise and we look forward to having you on “board” (pardon the pun).

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A huge thank you goes to Miss Miller for the donation of a brand new mountain bike and bike carrier that can be attached to the back of a vehicle. We will identify a deserving learner to receive this generous gift. Just imagine the difference it will make to the learner that no longer has to walk the many miles to school. Thank you once again Miss Miller for your wonderful generosity.

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Thank you to Rustenburg Girls’ High School Chamber Choir for the annual concert given in aid of ASF. May the song in your hearts, delivered with such passion, continue to inspire the spirit of giving and may you be blessed in knowing that you have touched and inspired those present and those whose very lives will be changed for the better because of the music in your souls. We wish you a blessed festive season.
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Abbotts College, Anglo American (Tshikululu Social Investment) was very happy with the progress made by the 10 ASF learners that received a full scholarship for 2008. It was confirmed that a further 6 ASF learners will be interviewed for possible scholarship in 2009. We are very proud of our “ambassadors”, of their achievements, of their personal growth and their commitment to taking hold of the opportunity.
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A big, big thank you goes to Professor John Webb, ASF trustee, who suggested that students / parents that benefited from the UCT Mathematics Competition, the UCT Mathematics Challenge, the Saturday afternoon Mathematics Series and the Inter-Provincial Mathematics Olympiad “pay it forward” by making a donation to the African Scholars’ Fund. The response has been absolutely wonderful and many less fortunate learners will benefit hugely from this outpouring of generosity.

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And then there is Dr. Mentor – a young medical doctor based at Tygerberg hospital. Thank you too Keno, for endeavouring to start up a network of support amongst your peers, family and friends. “When you smile, smile from your heart and love will blossom all around you”. We wish you and your Starfish Network every success and look forward to working with you.

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Last, but certainly not least a huge thank you and a great big hug goes to our very loyal volunteers – Erika Targett, Margaret Bull, Ruth Allsop, Hilda Barry and Wendy Kirby. Come rain or shine you will find these ladies in the office helping with letters, reports, application forms, preparation of files, stamping of envelopes and anything else that needs to be done. We love you.



CONGRATULATIONS MPUMI

(ASF Schools’ Secretary)



May 2008 – National Diploma Business Management





NEW APPLICATIONS - 2009

Once again, the ASF was absolutely inundated with new applications – literally thousands of learners wrote asking for assistance of which 2383 were finally placed on the waiting list. It was heartbreaking to have to say no to some of the applicants – tales of poverty and the cry for help tore at our emotions, but we did not dare promise help to all of them. We had to keep the thousands of learners currently on our database in mind that would re-apply for next year.


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Ngcami “...at home we are the family of 4 children and our grandmother. She is supporting us with her old age pension. Our father passed away this year and our mother is in Cape Town living her own life...

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Thandi “...my mother is not working. My grandfather passed away in 2007. This is the person who helped me on my education. Since my grandfather passed away I was unhappy...

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Sitha “ my father sometimes gets job and get money for us to put something on the table. My mother gets money on grant and that’s how we survive...


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Lwandile “...sometimes my father cuts wood and sell wood after that he buy food and pay for my school needs...


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Vuyokazi “I live with my grandmother. Because my parents passed away on 2006. My grandmother is a pensioner. She didn’t afford my school things...


And so the list goes on...
GOOD NEWS – not only because parents are struggling or many of our bursars depend on the granny’s pension, but because every child absolutely deserves to be given the opportunity to attend school, to receive a basic education, to feel cared for and to feel part of the greater school community we are increasing the award from R600 p/year to a minimum of R700 p/year. Thanks once again to our very loyal and generous donors.
Donations to the ASF fund are tax deductable.
Bank: STANDARD BANK

Account Name: AFRICAN SCHOLARS’ FUND

Account Number: 071404104

Branch Number: 025009

Swift code address: SBZA ZAJJ

OUR BURSARS SAY “THANK YOU”

This note was written by one of our grade 11 learners. From the many letters we receive, it reflects the thoughts and feelings expressed by many of our bursars and so we though it apt to share the message with you:

From nowhere to somewhere, from nothing to everything

From no one to someone, before anything I want to thank you

You put a stepping stone in our way

The pain I lived with in my life you have healed


For what I’ve lived with I thought people were heartless, discouraging and un-supporting

Up until you have shown up

Now I know that sometimes I can believe in some people
Even today I haven’t found the right words to say it

But with all of my heart I am grateful forever for what you are doing for people like me.



Simamkele

DURING THIS SEASON OF GIVING – OF HEALING. YOU CAN HELP US, HELP OTHERS...

Instead of buying somebody a gift, we humbly ask that you consider donating a minimum of R50 to the ASF. We will then write to that family member, friend or colleague to inform them of the donation made on their behalf. When making your donation be sure to let us have their name and postal address.







THE TRUSTEES, STAFF, SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS WISH YOU A BLESSED CHRISTMAS AND A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.




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