“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
During the month of June, Thai Africa Restaurant Group ran a fundraising campaign at its Joburg restaurants to raise funds for an educational trust. The “small bites for small kids” campaign was launched at Wangthai, Kong, So Yum and Orient as a means of giving back for the period of Youth Month. It saw 10% of the takings from dim sum/small bite dishes going to the Thandulwazi Trust in support of the Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy.
On Saturday, 29 July, Emi from our team joined team Thandulwazi: Dr Tim Nuttall, Rector; Dr Themba Mthethwa, outgoing Head of the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy; Mr Alistair Stewart, Head of Advancement; Ms Bev Johnson, Deputy Head of Advancement (Thandulwazi fundraiser & donor relations) at Thandulwazi Saturday School to hand over the outstanding R 36 131.82 on behalf of Orient, Wangthai, So Yum and Kong that was raised in just over two weeks of Youth Month, June 2017.
“Sincere thanks to The Thai Africa Restaurant Group for running the #smallbitesgobigger campaign in celebration of Youth Month in June 2017, and for raising a whopping R36,131.82 in two weeks. Your creativity, enthusiasm and generous support are so greatly appreciated by the Advancement Office, Thandulwazi Trustees and the students attending the Thandulwazi Saturday School.” – Bev Johnson, Deputy Head of Advancement.
Emi also had the opportunity to interview two of the Thandulwazi programs past students, twins Musa and Sphiwe Chauke who are now studying medicine at the University of Cape Town. The twins were born and bread in Soweto and attended Glenharvie Combined School which is a co- educational, government school situated in Westonaria, Gauteng. The twins have been brought up by single mother, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, who is the principal of an ECD centre in Protea Glen. Musa and Sphiwe achieved their prefects blazers in 2016 at their high school, where they were Head Boy and Deputy Head Boy respectively in their Matric year.
The Chauke twins attended the Thandulwazi Saturday School in their Grade 11 and 12 years (2015 and 2016). Both students were diligent and committed young men, who attended Saturday classes regularly. In Grade 12 they were selected for the Maths Top Set extension classes. Both Musa and Sphiwe took every opportunity presented to them with both hands and fully committed themselves to their studies and bettering their future in order to support themselves and their mother. Their commitment to their studies were certainly reflected by their excellent NSC results which were achieved in December 2o16 affording them both bursaries to study Medicine (MBChB) at the University of Cape Town in 2017.
In addressing the current Thandulwazi Saturday School learners, Musa and Sphiwe spoke of the importance in seeing potential in oneself and in the circumstances afforded to you, “I started seeing potential in myself and I hope that the program does that for you so that you can start seeing the potential you have within. At Thandulwazi, the resources are given to you and the result is what you make of them. Should I give you any advice, grab it with both hands” said Musa. Having come from a school that didn’t have a library or a lab, Thandulwazi provided all the necessary resources that the students needed to further their studies. Musa recalled this as the trigger point of inspiration, and when his results started reflecting the work he had put in, his goals became bigger and his hunger to achieve them even greater. Most importantly it was noticing their self potential that was most encouraging and the Thandulwazi process is what ultimately pushed them forward, “the Thandulwazi program was really helpful in helping us achieve our marks and giving us inspiration. Putting in the effort was on our part but we were willing to do what we needed to to achieve our goal,” said Sphiwe.
Chatting with the twins after their address it was evident that they incurred a number of hardships on the road to UCT, particularly when it came to funding. Prior to departure, the twins were completely unaware as to whether they would receive their funding in time for their departure to UCT from NSFAS. This came as a cost as when the twins matriculated, they applied for funding from NSFAS which took a while to kick in so this was a particularly difficult time as they never knew whether they would get to UCT. Having worked exceptionally hard to achieve their acceptance, this uncertainty was somewhat debilitating and the twins needed to find it in themselves to remain positive that they’d be able to live their dream. Bev Johnson was of great assistance in helping the twins to follow through with the NSFAS funding. The boys received funding from Sir Percy Hunting Foundation just before their departure to UCT which supports them a great deal. There are very few bursaries offered to medicine which becomes particularly difficult if there is a funding issues.
The twins wonderful single mother has played a major role in ensuring that the twins had a supportive and positive upbringing that encouraged them to be go getters. Although times were often challenging, Miss Lindiwe did everything in her power to ensure that the boys were encouraged to be diligent, good students and put every effort into ensuring that they stayed on the right path so that they could take their future into their own hands and set off on the career path they had always dreamt of.
It was certainly a humbling moment in hearing how much of an impact the money raised by Kong, Wangthai, Orient and So Yum will have on the future of so many young individuals. In the words of Sphiwe, ‘All I see here is bright minds’ and playing a part in ensuring that these young South African’s light shines bright makes it all worthwhile.
Direct Donations may also be made to Thandulwazi if you so wish via EFT Donations:
Account Name: Thandulwazi Trust
Account Number: 221043209
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: Randburg (Code: 018005)
Online donations may also be made via the Thandulwazi donation portal:http://www.stithian.com/thandulwazi/donate/thandulwazi
Your donations will be acknowledged and if you so wish, a Section 18A Tax Certificate will be provided to you on request. Please ensure that when making donations you use the reference: CN&CO or alternatively that of the restaurant at which you choose to dine (Kong, Orient, Wangthai, So Yum).
For more information on Thandulwazi, visit:
The Thandulwazi Saturday School Facebook page