As the #FeesMustFall campaign continues, the University of Witwatersrand Students’ Representative Council (SCR) has taken it upon themselves to try and assist students with outstanding debt. The SRC recently initiated the #Access campaign which aims to raise R10 million by the end of February and are set to intensify the project with #DoubleUp, a lunch hour event, in conjunction with Wits Foundation.
Wits SRC Secretary General, Fasiha Hassan, said the rationale behind the campaign is based on the fact that 8000 Wits University students have outstanding debt. Students who have debt with a university are unable to register for a new academic year.
“As much as the fight for free and fair education for the poor continues, we are now having to do an urgent response, so that we can make sure that 8000 students don’t go home on our watch,” Hassan explains.
Hassan further notes that the campaign is not a solution for the current education crises, but rather a means to be proactive.
The R10 million, #Access expects will accommodate the debt of students who have outstanding debt of between R1000 and R5000. Once the debt of this category has been covered, #Access will seek to accommodate students who have outstanding debt amounting from between R5000 and R20 000.
The response to the campaign has been positive said Hassan, with NetBank donating R2 million and Abbots Lab donating R600 000. Ifani, a South African musician, donated R50 000 to the cause, and challenged other musicians in the industry to the same. In response to Ifani’s challenge, musician Cassper Nyovest, subsequently donated R50 000.
“No amount of fundraising will ever be enough, R10 million is not enough. There are some students’ who have debt in excess of R100 000.”
Many individuals have answered the call for donations with smaller donations, which is continuously rising, Hassan asserts.
Hassan further states that it is a tragedy that those who require education more so than others, as underprivileged individuals, is the constituency that suffers from stringent fees regulations.
“This missing middle group falls through the cracks, and that’s what this campaign seeks to prevent, to pick these students back up and give them an education,” Hassan urges.
By donating to #Access, Hassan implores, “you are going to be paying for someone’s education.”
#Access is urging members of the public to donate to the campaign in their attempt to ensure that thousands of students are granted access to education.
Donations may be sent to the following bank account:
Account name: Wits Foundation
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch code: 00 48 05
Account type: Business Current Account
Account no: 002 900 076
SWIFT code: SB-ZAZ-AJJ-480502
Reference: WITS SRC Access Initial and Surname
(i.e. WITS SRC Access SNgcebo)
Proof of payment to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Alternatively, visit: http://www.witsfoundation.co.za/src.asp
VOC (Thakira Desai)