The online campaign hopes to aid 51 women with essentials.  

The Wits Students Surgical Society (WSSS) has partnered with MES shelter for women’s month (August), and have already raised over R2 000 through a virtual fundraiser.  

The Wits Students Surgical Society (WSSS), a student-run platform for medical students at Wits University, has created an online fundraiser through the Back-a-Buddy website in support of MES, a shelter that assists the homeless and unemployed community throughout South Africa. 

Chloé Pietersen (20), WSSS head of outreach, told Wits Vuvuzela that the goal of the initiative is to reach R10 000 before Monday, August 31, when the fundraiser ends. 

We’ve raised over R2 000 since the fundraiser was created at the beginning of July,” said Pietersena third-year medical student. “Our target is set for R10000, but if possible, we’d like to surpass that goal,” she said 

Bonolo Masigo (30)MES programme manager for fundraising and marketing, said there are 51 women in the two Hillbrow shelters, and the donations will help cover their essential needs, such as food and toiletries 

 The aim is to make them feel special by donating towards their daily essentials, Masigo said.  

To promote their online fundraiser, WSSS created a social media advertising campaign, called #SheMatters, which encourages support for women. 

Karabo Ramathoka (21)a fourth-year medical student and WSSS president, says, “The campaign features amazing women in our community while highlighting that there are still many women that need help.” 

In 2019WSSS collected female sanitary products from Wits students through campus-based events, and donated the products to MES. However, due to covid-19, digital innovation was required in any further outreach initiatives.

Nompumelelo Marissa Manana (19), a second-year medical student and co-head of the 2020 WSSS women’s outreach initiative, says,Covid-19 has created a great number of restrictions in how we raise funds and interact with our community – it required us to be creative. 

The covid-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on donations to MES. Masigo says, “Unfortunately, we have had some donors pulling back on their monthly contribution, others changing focus of what programmes they give to, and a general decrease on other donations.”  

Donations to the WSSS fundraiser can be made here.

 FEATURED IMAGE: The WSSS is celebrating women’s month this August by raising money for women in MES shelter. Photo: Catia De Castro