Ms Nosipho Gabela, who in 2018 won a Silibona Educational Trust scholarship to complete her studies, has graduated from UKZN with a Bachelor of Education degree in Business and Life Science. The Trust provides financial assistance to previously disadvantaged students for university studies.
With the added assistance of the Shaping Futures Foundation, Gabela also received mentorship and guidance throughout her studies as well as having historical debt paid off.
Gabela thanked the organisations for their support. ‘Silibona Educational Trust came into my life and gave me peace of mind in so many ways. Although tuition was paid for, the mentorship was the cherry on top because I always had a friend to listen to me and advise me when I needed it.’
Ms Mandy Cobbing, who runs the Durban Silibona programme in partnership with the UKZN Foundation, hopes to enrol more students soon when further funding is confirmed. ‘The mentorship session is a safe and informal space for the students to talk about any current challenges and to get advice and support from their mentor,’ said Cobbing.
‘The mentorship relationship, if functioning well, provides a platform that gives students the assurance that they are not alone; an insight into how their challenges can be overcome, and support and confidence to continue.’
Students are encouraged to continue to be involved with Silibona after graduating by providing support/mentorship to colleagues and sharing their experiences, challenges and ideas to assist Silibona improve on its offering.’
Gabela has enrolled for a Bachelor of Education honours degree. ‘We wish her well as we continue to provide mentorship and support. We are confident she will make us proud again,’ added Cobbing.