A Cape Argus report prompted several Capetonians to reach out to Anushqah van der Ventel, 18, after reading about her financial struggles to pay for her first year at Rhodes University.Picture: Tracey Adams/Cape Argus

Cape Town - A struggling Manenberg High School matriculant who achieved six distinctions was on Thursday inundated with calls from Good Samaritans pledging donations to help pay for her studies.

A Cape Argus report on Thursday prompted several Capetonians to reach out to Anushqah van der Ventel, 18, after reading about her financial struggles to pay for her first year at Rhodes University.

Van der Ventel aspires to become a TV news anchor and break the cycle of poverty in her family though education.

Van der Ventel has to find R89 000 for residence and tuition.

“We have managed to get together half (by fundraising) but if I do not pay the rest, I am worried I will not be able to complete my studies,” she said.

The teen lives with her single mother, Jasmina van der Ventel, 51, and her wheelchair-bound grandmother, Gadija Jacobs, 74, in a small house in Red River Road.

Jacobs also helps out where she can with her pension.

Van der Ventel’s mother, who works as a clerk in Salt River, said: “It has been a difficult three years since my husband died of cancer, but I will do my utmost to give my baby girl the best opportunity. I want a better life for her.”

Burning the midnight oil nets Anushqah 6 distinctionsManenberg High School matriculant Anushqah van der Ventel beat...

Van der Ventel faced many challenges in the volatile area in which she lives, often having to brave gang-warfare to access internet café’s to complete homework assignments.

“What always keeps me motivated is memorising the faces of my family when I make them proud.

“That is invaluable to me. When I see them proud of me, I want that reaction all the time.

“I want them to know that all the years they took care of me, all the sacrifices they made for me has not gone to waste.”