STUDENTS-LED NPO IKUSASALENTSHA PROVIDES SUPPORT TO RURAL MATRICULANTS

Ikusasalentsha is a non-profit organization that seeks to assist matriculants with online applications to colleges, universities, and bursaries. The organization also provides career guidance, study support, and provides health talks. The group is led by Mukelani Radebe, a Power Engineering student from the Durban University of Technology (DUT). The NPO currently operates in the rural town of Bergville, located at the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains.

Ikusasalentsha was founded in 2020, in an attempt to be what Radebe describes as the “light of the Bergville Community”. In his quest to increase the capacity of the project, Radebe further recruited other DUT students who hailed from Bergville to assist him with his efforts. The group currently consists of Lungelo Zikode (a Textile Science Student), Sphesihle Mzobe (a Town planning student), Nkosingiphile Ndaba (Currently doing a Diploma in Drama), Malibongwe Msimang (a Business and Information student) and Siyethemba Zikode (completing his Diploma in Civil Engineering)

Giving a brief background of the project, Mr Radebe states that the establishment of the programme was primarily focused on assisting young motivated black learners that lacked the computer and internet browsing skills and access that would allow them to successfully submit and monitor online university and funding applications.

Currently, the NPO offers career guidance for high school learners, assistance with university applications, constant updates on applications (application status) and assistance with bursaries/ NSFAS applications, workshops on studying methods and tips, and health talks on teenage pregnancy and substance abuse.

The Ikusasalentsha project was a finalist in the DUT 2021 Community Engagement Showcasing and Pitching Awards in the Student category. The team won an R2500 cash prize which they used to buy t-shirts for their team members and branded pull-up banners, all of which are actively used in their school engagement activities.

Mr Radebe believes that the commitment of his team will ensure that the project has a bright future.  “With all the dedication of members, the workforce and the passion we give in assisting the youth, we would like to see the Ikusasalentsha dominating the industry and being recognized as one of the best NPOs in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the whole of South Africa,” he said.

The project aligns with the pillars of Society and Stewardship of ENVISION2030. The nature of the programme strongly underscores the values of an Engaged University, Adaptive Graduates and Lived Values. It is truly remarkable to see motivated youth who actively seek to create positive people-centred change in their society.

Picture: Some members of Ikusasalentsha

Lungisani Mncwabe and Tracy Khuzwayo

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