Students who cannot fund their education can now use the Feenix online platform to get financial assistance.
A new funding platform has been introduced for tertiary students that allows them to get financial assistance more easily.
The new Feenix crowdfunding initiative powered by Standard Bank, allows public donors access to a database of students from which they can choose whose education to finance.
Students in need of funding create a profile on the site that includes a motivation and a photograph. Donors then read through the profiles and choose whom to support.
The initiative caters for students regardless of academic performance or household income, unlike other funding options such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
Feenix was launched in June and, in less than two months, has raised over R1-million and managed to provide full funding for 28 students.
Siyabonga Cele, a third-year MBBCh student is among Wits students who have received full funding from the Feenix initiative.
In January, Cele owed the university about R90 000 in tuition fees and as a result could not register, until his family and friends “made a plan”.
“When I found out about Feenix beginning of July I instantly created my profile and uploaded the required documents. Two weeks after creating the profile I was already 80% funded, and I am grateful for every single sponsor who has assisted,” said Cele.
Cele said the initiative is a great way to connect students to prospective sponsors.
“I have tried applying for the department of health bursary for the past three years but to no avail. NSFAS as well.
It has made it easier for me to focus on my academics rather than my finances,” he said.
Feenix project manager, Elizabeth Strydom, said, “Feenix rose out of the shared belief that education is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty. Our platform was built to assist as many poor or missing middle South African students.”
Strydom attributed the initiative to the #FeesMustFall protests saying the movement had “highlighted the importance of education in the lives of South Africans, and the barriers that prevent access to it. There was an enormous sense of wanting to help in whatever way possible,” she said.
Wits Vuvuzela, Witsie develops app for easy bursary access, August 01, 2017.