Wallonia Brussels International extends its support to Sizanani30/03/2022

Our sister organisation, Wallonia Brussels International (WBI), has announced its decision to renew its support to the Sizanani Mentorship Programme yet again with a grant of €25,000 (± R400,000) for the period running until 31 Dec 2022. This is the 8th year in a row that WBI makes such financial contribution.
Sizanani, meaning ‘Help each other’ in Zulu, is a mentorship programme coordinated by Valérie Hirsch, an independent Belgian journalist who is based in Johannesburg since 1996. The goal is to prepare and help disadvantaged students from the Alexandra township to access university by giving them extra classes and coaching sessions on Saturdays. The whole programme is based on the work of volunteers and mentors who take time off to guide and coach these young people.
Last year, 101 mentors organised outings for 124 learners and help them in many way to achieve their goals. Life skills workshops, a career fair and company visits were also organised, as well as a talent show and a soccer competition. Sizanani provides also used laptops (given out by companies) to the university students, help them find in-service training and internships for the graduates.
Wallonia Brussels International is the major sponsor of Sizanani. The donation in cash supports some of the overhead expenses of the programme but mostly serves to grant full or partial bursaries so that students can access college education (particularly those doing their 4th year of studies, not funded by NFSAS) or pursue a master’s degree. Since the first donation in 2013, about 80 young adults have been able to fulfil their dreams of studying at university.
“Twenty five thousand Euros a year is a relatively small amount”, says Jean-Pierre Muller, head of Awex Johannesburg. “It may be a drop in an ocean, but considering the high level of unemployment in South Africa, WBI’s renewed support is more important than ever!” According to latest figures just released by StatSA, the youth aged 15–24 years are the most vulnerable in the South African labour market as the unemployment rate among this age group was 66,5 % in the last quarter of 2021! This is more than a 10% increase compared with the pre-covid figures! “With this donation, a couple of underprivileged South African students unable to pay their tuition fees at college will be given a chance to stand out”, says Muller. “And thanks to the Sizanani Mentorship Programme, we know that they are hardworking and deserving, so this is money well spent!”
In case of interest for the programme, either as a sponsor or mentor, please contact Sizanani's manager Ms. Valérie Hirsch - valou.hirsch@gmail.com or info@sizanani.org.za. WhatsApp: +27 83 750 77 25.
And if you are in a position to offer an internship or a first job to one of those bright young women and men, please check the list of those currently seeking such an opportunity among the Sizanani Alumni.  Thanks :-)