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Sumbandila Scholarship Trust

August Newsletter

Hello Friends!

We have had a great month at Sumbandila. We finished the first round of testing for the 2016 bursaries and are preparing for the final round in September. Of the current 40 finalists 10 full residential students will be chosen and the rest will join the Outlier programme.


We have constructed a pavement at a local primary school, one of our University students has been invited to join the Golden Key Society and Sumbandila has added their voices to Women’s month.


Sumbandila has always stretched out an arm in Zimbabwe, supporting students through loans and bursaries. This month we tell the story of a young Zimbabwean, Tendai Simon, and his remarkable journey from street boy to computer programming student.  

Sumbandila Story of the Month

From street boy to computer programming student

Tendai Simon is the remarkable boy who ran away from Zimbabwe when he was 13 years old in search of a better future, and was fortunate enough to receive the full Sumbandila Scholarship to live and school in South Africa.

On his journey from a small village in Zimbabwe, stowed away in a broken toilet on a train, he went days without food or shelter. He was driven by what he calls “the smell of freedom”. He wanted to escape the crippling poverty of his home village and the oppression of his abusive father.

After being rescued from the streets, it was Father Frank at the Catholic shelter for boys in Louis Trichardt who recognized Tendai's potential and referred him to a teacher at Ridgeway College who referred him to the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust. Despite having missed two years of school, Tendai did well in the English and Maths test and was awarded the bursary and his life changed forever.

At Ridgeway College Tendai used a computer for the first time, and soon found a passion for this new-found world of technology.

When I started in form one I knew nothing about computers... I just couldn’t get my head around how much computers can do for you” said Tendai.

Having now graduated from Ridgeway with Cambridge AS levels, Tendai is excited to be doing a software development course at CTI in Pretoria with a loan made available by Sumbandila. His aim is to become a professional software programmer and develop educational applications for disadvantaged communities.

Tendai says he has not looked back since the day he fled his home for a better life, and that he has Sumbandila to thank for that. We look forward to seeing what this dynamic young man accomplishes in the future!

Read Tendai's full story on our blog!

Paving the way for rural school with Cash & Rocket 

Sumbandila is delighted to have completed the pavement for Luvhalani Junior school, one of our Babies Under Baobab schools in the rural area of Tshakhuma. The pavement, together with a new roof and reading books were all generously donated by Cash & Rocket, who visited the school last year November.

The pavement will lessen the school's dust and mud problem significantly but most importantly they will have a place to play netball and other sports.

Luvhalani Junior school was Langanani's first school before he received the Sumbandila scholarship to attend Ridgeway Independent School. Langi is proud to say that his old school is partnered with Sumbandila.

Thanks must go to Quinton Vogel from QV Construction who kindly did this project at cost price. Watch the amazing project of Sumbandila and Cash & Rocket unfold in this video:

Sumbandila paves way for rural school
Sumbandila and Cash & Rocket paves the way for rural school 
'#Make it Stop' campaign for Women's Month

August is Women's Month in South Africa, commemorating the march of 9th August 1956 when 20 000 South African women marched against unjust apartheid laws.

Abuse of women is a growing problem in South Africa, the statistics of domestic violence and rape are terrifying. We encourage our students to be active in social issues, and a group of our residential students decided to join an online campaign started by TV actress Thando Thabethe.

'Make it Stop' trended on social media throughout August, and our students made a powerful contribution with striking images. Some of our tertiary students also had a discussion about violence against women, which can be seen here:

Sumbandila against women abuse
Sumbandila assists Zimbabwean student

Girly Mapolisa is a second year Business Management student from Gweru, Zimbabwe. After her mom passed away in 2012 she struggled to properly finance her studies, despite assistance from her aunt. Girlie was recently introduced to the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust and is now being assisted to complete her studies. Girly is an excellent student and has ambitions of becoming a chartered accountant.

Outlier excells at University 

Sumbandila currently has 69 scholars enrolled at tertiary institutions in South Africa, many of whom were on the Outlier programme. One of these students, Tsepo Seima, is performing exceptionally well at the University of the Free State. Now in her second year of Political Science, Tsepo is scoring within the top 15% of the University's Humanities student body, and has been invited to join the Golden Key society and its 2015 regional summit. Tsepo had a tough time last year when she lost her Mother but persevered and we commend her for this excellent achievement!

Testing for 2016 testing enters final stages 

We have successfully completed the first phase of testing for 2016 bursaries. Having started at the end of July, we have tested at four different testing stations in the surrounding district and at Ridgeway College, narrowing the selection down to the top 40 applicants.

These 40 students now all have a guaranteed spot in the Sumbandila Outlier programme for weekend and holiday school. However, only 10 of these children will receive the full residential bursary to attend Ridgeway College, and this will be determined by the next phase of selection.

The emphasis now extends beyond English and Maths skills into the personal circumstances, financial need, perceptual skills, reading age, logic, leadership, entrepreneurial potential, and resilience of each child. A background check is also done to rule out any applicants who applied with false information. Only children who qualify in terms of real financial need can be let into the final round of testing.

We are looking for children with “Grit” and “zest” said Leigh Bristow. “Passion and drive combined with self discipline, empathy and determination.”

Final selection takes place on the 12th of September and the existing Sumbandila scholars will be actively involved in the process.

We are thrilled that for the first time we will be awarding full residential bursaries to two deserving students who are currently in Form 2 on our Outlier programme. Having not made it onto the full program in 2014 their outstanding progress this year will be acknowledged and rewarded.

Fun at the Movies!

On Sunday 24 August we treated our residential students to movies and lunch at a shopping Mall at the near by city of Polokwane. For many of our students it was their first time in a movie theatre and they were beaming with excitement.

The residential students have always treasured their Sumbandila outings outside of the school environment where they can be themselves and make wonderful memories. Many of them had to be dragged out of the game arcade which was definitely the highlight of the day!

Naho discovers the joy of art

Naho Maduwa is in his first year at Ridgeway College on the full Sumbandila residential scholarship. Though still in form 1, he knows his dream is to become an engineer. He loves to draw and shows natural talent.

Naho says "I feel peaceful when I draw.... it's like I am in my own world".

We encourage our students to take part in a varied curriculum. We will eagerly watch Naho's talent develop as he matures at Ridgeway College.

Kind regards

Leigh Bristow

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