University of Pretoria marks new semester raising funds for ‘missing middle’ students

University of Pretoria students in jovial mood during the #UPTopia programme and Giving Day initiative. Picture: Supplied

University of Pretoria students in jovial mood during the #UPTopia programme and Giving Day initiative. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 25, 2023


Noxolo Miya

Pretoria - Excitement abounded yesterday as the University of Pretoria welcomed students back for the second semester with an exciting programme marking Mandela Month.

The return of students was coupled with a #UPTopia programme and Giving Day initiative with the aim of raising R100 million for students who need financial assistance.

According to the university, the three-year campaign was launched in 2022 to raise additional money for the UP Alma Mater Fund, which supports the so-called missing middle students.

These are students whose families earn just enough to disqualify them from receiving National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), but are unable to afford bank loans for their education.

“A lot of the students that come into our office have lost hope in terms of continuing their studies, and are considering deregistering,” said Gugu Ihenacho, senior assistant director for financial aid at the university.

“However, we have seen hope restored when we offered them financial assistance that would be unavailable without initiatives like UP Giving Day. The financial support we offer goes beyond tuition fees to cover study materials, meals, accommodation and other academic interventions to succeed, like tutorials and workshops.”

The day’s programme included a blend of activities, such as cycling and booths where students could participate in educational activities, and celebrating Nelson Mandela Month.

Interim UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Themba Mosia asked students, alumni, donors and friends of the university across the world to donate as little as R10 to help realise the dream of Nelson Mandela when he declared “Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world”.

“I want to be able to give back one day and help others like I have been helped, to give value to society as a whole, and to have an impact in someone’s life,” said Lebohang Baleni, a BCom Accounting Science student who benefited from the campaign.

Avhashoni Managa, a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery student, said: “I will encourage people to donate because even if it is a small amount, it could give relief to a person facing financial exclusion. It could prevent a person from finding himself or herself sleeping at the library because they cannot afford accommodation. So this also gives opportunities and makes students optimistic about life.”

Interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Themba Mosia, speaks during the event. Picture: Supplied

Pretoria News