Inspired by the #FeesMustFall movement, schoolgirl Abby Sieberhagen has come up with an innovative project that will now see one of her peers receive a bursary.
Determined to help, Pearson High School pupil Sieberhagen, 17, came up with a campaign called Rent-A-Student.
She said many youngsters were struggling to find funding for tertiary education, especially those who fell into the socalled “missing middle” – students whose families were not poor enough to gain funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) or wealthy enough to afford the fees. So, in conjunction with her fellow Junior City Council members she decided to create a platform where youngsters could help their peers.
She said: “I gave proposals to various schools. These pupils had to provide acts of service for someone they know and ask for donations. Each school could approach it differently but the main purpose was to raise enough money to send a pupil to university.”
Pearson managed to raise R15 000 while Westering High secured R9 000.
With donations coming in from other schools, including Victoria Park High, Grey High, Cape Recife, DF Malherbe and Linkside High, the total amount collected was R30 000.
“This has been an amazing learning experience and an inspiring example of what the youth of Port Elizabeth are capable of,” Sieberhagen said.
DF Malherbe grade 11 pupil Daniella Recchia, 17, undertook 13 hours of service and raised R1 000 by herself.
“I spent my hours helping family members with various tasks, giving pedicures and babysitting. I presented the project to my school on multiple occasions in assembly.
“I supported this project because I felt it was the right thing to do. It gives someone the opportunity to study who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to do so,” Recchia said.
JCC member and Westering High grade 11 pupil Shannon Earnest, 17, ran the project at her school and was proud of the amount they raised.
“With the help of many others I was able to make the Rent– A-Student initiative available for all grades.
“We really saw Rent-A-Student as a way to help someone in need by just giving an hour or two of our time,” Earnest said.
Sieberhagen said a suitable candidate to take up the bursary would be chosen at the end of August.
She said their ultimate goal was to cover first-year tuition at NMMU for R35 000.