Wits has raised up to R780 000 to help students who have been unable to register because of funding issues.
Around 2788 students were left stranded when NSFAS (National Students Financial Aid Scheme), rejected their applications due to insufficient funds. To address the issue, the Wits SRC launched the “One Million, One Month” campaign during the Wits Welcome Day (February 9), in hopes of raising money for the remaining students who cannot afford registration.
So far R300 000 has been raised through pledges, commitments and contributions from NGO’s, alumni, and members of the Wits community. An additional R480 000 was raised through corporations and individual donors.
“We’ve got commitments and contributions for about R300 000 but there’s no money in the bank … the money hasn’t necessarily come in”, said Sheera Kalla, SRC deputy president.
Mkosazana Dubazana, BSc Hons Geography student contributed R200 to help the campaign. “I wanted to help the students but it was also an extension of my religious practises … I tithe (give a donation at Church), and I was inspired to contribute to society in other forms not just through church”, she said.
The average Wits student contributes anything from R10 to R100 but the SRC is encouraging all students to contribute R100 to reach the goal.
The “One million, One Month” campaign will not solve the NSFAS national crisis but the contributions will help in the registration of some students.
“So yes, we might not be able to raise R174 000 000 (SRC’s estimated shortfall) but we will be able to actually change quite a few students [lives] just by allowing them to register because at the end of the day you have the rest of the year to save, but if you are not registered then you are not a Wits student”, Kalla said.
Another student, Aaisha Dadi Patel, BA Hons Media Studies, contributed R100 and said she believed in the cause. “I am proud that the SRC is not saying let’s go and have a protest. I mean we’ve done that and we’ve seen that okay you can make a noise but what can you do to effect actual change … I think the people running this have good heads on their shoulders and they know what they are doing.”
To make a pledge visit www.witsfoundation.co.za