A story of hope

Issued by North West University
Johannesburg, Mar 30, 2021

For the past four years the Hillensberg Trust has been making the dreams of several North-West University (NWU) students come true. The trust was established in the late 1970s and the bursary grant was launched in 2017. Since its inception, students at the NWU have received bursaries to the value of over R5 million.

The trust funds students who are studying towards a qualification in the fields of medicine, technology, visual arts or music. It targets students who have enrolled for a second qualification, as well as missing middle students – those who can’t afford university fees but do not qualify for NSFAS funding.

Celeste Rossouw, senior specialist for stakeholder relations at the NWU, explains that the trust donated an amount of R1.8 million to support 20 NWU students in 2020. The funding covered tuition fees, accommodation, monthly meal allowances and annual book allowances.

“The NWU is extremely grateful for the Hillensberg Trust funding and hopes to continue with the partnership for many years to come,” says Rossouw. “Without this financial support, 20-odd students a year would not be able to continue with their studies.”

NWU graduate Bongane Khanye, who obtained his BA degree in music society in 2020, says the Hillensberg Trust gave him hope when he was hopeless.

“The bursary has helped me achieve my dreams. In 2019 I struggled throughout the entire year without funding. I was so fortunate when I was awarded a bursary from the trust in 2020,” he adds.

NWU alumnus Sibusiso Simelane also had a similar experience. According to the BA music and society graduate, the Hillensberg Trust is helping him live his dream.

“I had a number of opportunities to travel overseas and expose my talent. Every time I had to leave the country, the Hillensberg Trust assisted me to get my travelling documents in order,” says Simelane.

Hailing from KwaZulu-Natal, Aneesah Jooma graduated in 2021 with not only a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, but with sweet lifelong memories and friends.

“Apart from the financial assistance, the Hillensberg Trust also appointed a mentor who provided me with emotional support during my studies by personally meeting up with me and enquiring about my progress and any difficulties that I might have been faced with. These kind gestures gave me the opportunity to focus on my studies and ensure that I worked towards graduating,” concludes Jooma.