SPECIFIC PROJECT NEED – BURSARIES FOR HIGH SCHOOL LEARNERS FROM SEDGEFIELD
Masithandane is a registered Non- profit (NPO- 052-253) and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930025275). Masithandane means “Let us love one another.” Our vision is “to action Faith, Love, Hope and Life” in the community. For the last 13 years we have provided services where they are needed the most to promote health and wellness and provide care and support services to children and families.
In Sedgefield, we find a divide between sophisticated urban settlements and the formal and informal settlements in which the majority of the population is located away from infrastructure, services and employment opportunities.
There is no High School in the area. The nearest High Schools are 25kms away in Knysna or 35 kms away in George and there is no public transport system.
In addition government subsidies are not provided for transport costs because the schools have hostels and the children are expected to live in the hostels during the week. They have to come home every weekend and so there is still a burden in the form of weekly transport costs.
Neither the Community nor Masithandane wishes to promote children having to go to hostel for the following reasons:
- Lack of supervision and lack of feedback on children in the hostels – absenteeism/bunking is often not reported to parents
- Alleged drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct, bullying and theft
- Exposure of younger learners to negative influences
- The Peer pressure placed on learners in hostels is greater than that experienced at home
- Inability of schools to maintain confidentiality and supervise ARVs – children on chronic medication struggle with adherence
- Ongoing occurrence of teen pregnancies
- Nutritional issues
High School Statistics
We do not have the latest statistics for 2019 but there will be at least 110 children from Sedgefield and Karatara who will be going to high school for the first time, more than 250 children attending high schools in George and Knysna and at least 50 who cannot/could not get to school and dropped out between Grades 5 to 11.
Criteria for the allocation of bursaries
Bursaries are allocated according to strict criteria which include among others the following:
- the Applicant’s gross annual family income is below the threshold of R 60 000 (Sixty thousand rand) per annum
- proof of income and affidavits are provided and the
- applicant has a proven record of good academic achievement.
In most cases the money is paid directly to the school or supplier. Learners must provide school academic reports every quarter. The reality is that the income is much lower than the threshold because of the rate of unemployment in the area.
Daily Transport Fees to High School
Masithandane has put a transport system in place for learners attending schools in Knysna and George. On a daily basis, thirty–four learners use the bus to George and 11 to Knysna.
We act as intermediary between the transport provider and the parents of the learners, receive payments from the parents and then pay these over to the transport provider. We supply each learner with a ticket including a photo once the payment has been received to allow them access to the bus transport and supply a list of names, schools and pick up points on a monthly basis.
Possible pick up/drop-off points in:
- George include PW Botha, York High, Van Kervel, Outeniqua High, Outeniqua Junior, Laerskool George Suid, George High, Glenwood College and Vine Christian Schools
- Knysna include Knysna High
The cost of the daily transport to Knysna is R9700 per annum per learner payable over 10 months.
The cost of the daily transport to George is R10200 per annum per learner payable over 10 months.
Four to five learners are sponsored every year. Parents are expected to make some contribution – usually about R2000 per annum leaving a shortfall of R7700 for a Knysna Learner and R8200 for a George learner – so for 5 learners a minimum shortfall of R 38500 per annum.
Weekly Transport fees for those in hostels
Weekly transport costs on buses supplied by the school or outside providers range from R50 to R60 per week so the cost per annum (60 weeks) is between R 3000 and R3600. We generally receive more applications that we can deal with but help at least 24 children at a minimum cost of R72000 per annum.
Besides providing assistance to families with transport costs to school there is a real need to also pay for school fees, uniforms and toiletries for teens.
The Bursary fund is a preventive measure needed to prevent high school drop-outs, teenage pregnancy, crime, drug abuse and the dangers associated with hitch-hiking.
A petition has been sent to the Minister of Education in the Western Cape and the plight of the Sedgefield children has been aired in the national press but the challenges remain.
Masithandane in the meantime will continue with the advocacy campaign to lobby for the building of a High School in Sedgefield and/or provision of transport subsidies. We will also continue to fundraise for the Children’s Bursary Fund. The 2018 Eden Kite Festival raised R58000 which covers about 50% of the needs.
You can read more about our Kite Festivals on our events page here.