Among other things, Luthando is an artist. As the photo above (taken at our 2019 Youth Day History and Arts Festival) suggests, Luthando has been a well-known presence among the group of learners attending after-school art classes with The Umkhumbane Schools Project. But Luthando has long had another passion in addition to art -- a vision for his future that has driven him to work hard and excel academically
Just a few hours before this GlobalGiving report was written, Luthando got a lot closer to realising that vision when the call came from the admissions office at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Luthando has been accepted to medical school!
For all of us at the Umkhumbane Schools Project, this news is cause for special celebration -- as well as special gratitude to you, our GlobalGiving donors. Luthando is part of our AHEAD program, the initiative through which we identify, mentor, advise, and assist learners in their quest for college admission. These are learners who have been part of our Friday and Saturday math classes, our science enrichment programming, our environmental education programs, our art lessons...all aspects of our learner programming...and some of them since 8th grade.
In the 2019 school year that just ended in December, we poured more time, effort, and financial resources into our AHEAD program than ever before -- thanks to funds that came in through our GlobalGiving campaigns. And the results have been so exciting!
Here are some of the numbers:
- 45 AHEAD learners for the 2019-2020 admissions cycle (roughly double last year’s number)
- 27 have received firm offers of admission to universities and colleges throughout South Africa
- 9 have received or are shortlisted for scholarships
- 43 have received National Student Financial Aid Scheme funding
The remaining learners who have not yet received firm admission offers are still waitlisted or are busy putting in change-of-mind applications. Which means we are quite busy, too!
Thanks to your generosity, The Umkhumbane Schools Project was able to offer twelve AHEAD learners free admission and transport to preparation courses for the NBT exam (similar to the SAT or ACT, but only required for certain courses at certain universities). For the group as a whole, our staff was able to help with all aspects of the admissions process, from assisting with online applications, to providing guidance as to where to apply and in what fields, to transporting learners to and from campuses for interviews, to helping with all aspects of applying for National Student Financial Aid funding, to providing wrap-around assistance and recommendation letters in support of learners’ search for scholarships.
Truly, we could never have extended this much guidance and support to these inspiring young people had our GlobalGiving support not been as generous as it was in the past 12 months. College guidance, in general, is not commonly available in South Africa, even in far more affluent schools than ours. The potential impact of this work is especially great in the Umkhumbane community, where poverty and a lack of exposure to opportunities puts even the most talented of learners at a deep disadvantage.
A few weeks from now, in early February, you can think of Luthando and all of his AHEAD peers from our five partner schools as they set off on their exciting next chapter as university students. And you can know that it was your GlobalGiving donation that enabled us to help them get there.
Their futures are bright, and we are so grateful for your support!