WBI again pledges €20,000 to Sizanani Mentorship Programme10/12/2019

Wallonia Brussels International (WBI) has announced its decision to renew its support to the Sizanani Mentorship Programme yet again with a grant of €20,000 (R320,000) for the period running until 31 Dec 2020. This is the sixth time 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.

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 whose NFSAS application has been declined for administrative reasons) or pursue a master’s degree. Since the first donation in 2013, about 50 young adults have been able to fulfil their dreams of studying at university.

“Twenty 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 extended support is more important than ever!” According to 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 55,2% in the 1st quarter of 2019. Considering the funding issues for South African higher education, every drop counts! “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!”