File image: IOL.
File image: IOL.
Picture: Zethembe Sanele Duma, 19, from Ladysmith is one of the Ithala education fund recipients. (Supplied).
Picture: Zethembe Sanele Duma, 19, from Ladysmith is one of the Ithala education fund recipients. (Supplied).
Picture: Siphelele Ayanda Kunene, 18, from Newcastle is one of the Ithala education fund recipients. (Supplied).
Picture: Siphelele Ayanda Kunene, 18, from Newcastle is one of the Ithala education fund recipients. (Supplied).

CAPE TOWN - Six bright KwaZulu-Natal students from underprivileged backgrounds had their university registration fees paid for by education fund, the Ithala Education Fund. 

100 percent owned subsidiary of Ithala Development Finance Corporation, the fund was established to assist academically deserving and historically disadvantaged youth. The mantra of the fund was focused around the theme of #LeaveNoStudentBehind. 

To enable all students to access tertiary education, the fund sponsored six first year student’s registration fees.

"I am most grateful to Ithala for removing this barrier to my studies. Please continue to make a difference in the lives of financially distressed students and keep the Education Fund operational", said eighteen year old recipient, Siphelele Ayanda Kunene from Newcastle. 

Kunene, a first year social work student at the the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) said that registration fees posed an additional burden to her family. They were already experiencing financial difficulty to, keeping up with household payments. 

Similarly, fellow recipient, Zethembe Sanele Duma from Ladysmith expressed his gratitude for receiving sponsorship. 

"If it wasn’t for Ithala, I wouldn’t be studying this year. I am grateful for this opportunity and I will work hard towards realising my goal of becoming a qualified electrical engineer", said the nineteen year old first year electrical engineering student at UKZN. 

"My mother battled to pay my registration fees and this put pressure on my family", added Duma. 

READ: University graduation numbers are on the rise - StatsSA

Ithala’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Sandile Xolo called on individuals to donate toward the fund. 

"The Student Account makes it simple and easy for ordinary South Africans to pledge their support towards an important social cause to uplift disadvantaged youth". 

"Your contribution towards the Fund will go a long way in empowering the country’s future leaders. We encourage students to open an Ithala Student Account and transact", said Xolo. 

Xolo also urges prospective university students to apply for the 2018 academic year. Qualifying applicants would have to meet certain criteria. An acceptance letter from a University of TVET college should be produced, students should be applying for their first year of study and parent’s combined income should not exceed R150 000 annually. 

READ ALSO: Why can these countries offer free tertiary education?

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE