It's time to bring you up to speed again as to Siyakhulisa news although there is not too much to tell. Our limited funds are keeping us from doing all we'd like to do. So much to do, so many to help but so little to do it with, is a frustrating scenario. Our books were audited recently and for the first time we are in deficit, meaning less money came in last year than went out. A sign of the economic times in South Africa I guess. So we're holding onto what we have in order to ensure we follow through with our commitment to see our bursary students through to their final year at Gill College.
Update on our Gill College learners
Five of our six learners passed last year so we now have Chevandré in Grade 10 and Rickeen, Bathandwa, Meagan and Hadlyn in Grade 11. We are really proud of them for getting this far. The Grade 11's are very aware that this is the most challenging year of their high school career and have put shoulder to the wheel. Rickeen has already surprised us with excellent results in the first term tests.
Unfortunately Thobela didn't make it last year so according to the conditions of his bursary he has had to find funding elsewhere to repeat the year. If he passes we will pick up the reigns again, so we watch him with interest and lots of hope.
Niki has graduated with a Bachelor of Education - a 4 year degree which he has worked so hard to achieve - sometimes under very trying circumstances. I am thrilled to report that he also has a very good teaching post at a primary school in Cape Town where he is very happy. Testimony to the fact that he is already making his mark there is that he has started a chess club which the school never had before.
I received the following letter of thanks from Niki. He understands that I am the go-between for our beneficiaries and you, the benefactors, so this letter is to all of you who have contributed towards his success:
Dear Mrs Lynn Brown I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and Siyakhulisa for your generosity which has helped me reach my goal of completing my studies in December 2014 and graduating from the University of the Western Cape with a Bachelor's Degree in Education in March 2015. I am extremely grateful for the continuous support and assistance which I have received from you. It has not been an easy road to have accomplished all that I have always dreamed about. It gives me great pleasure to say that you have acted as a significant role in getting me to where I am today. Thinking back to my first year, the assistance I received from you with my registration was a step towards obtaining this degree. For that, I would forever be thankful. That first step made all of this possible. Growing up in a foster home, the challenges and obstacles that I have faced has always made tertiary education seem impossible. However, I was lucky enough to have crossed paths with people like you. Today I can proudly say that all those challenges and the sacrifices I have had to make has helped me become who I am and has taught me to appreciate what I have. I cannot express the immense gratification that I feel. To others it may seem as financial help, but to me, helping me get to campus and buying those textbooks was something much bigger than that. The financial assistance I received lightened my burden and allowed me to focus on completing my studies. It also made me see that there were people who believe in changing the lives of others. You have given me the opportunity to seek education and gave me the chance to become something great in life. Thank you for believing in me. We know that there is always a lesson in everything, throughout the past four years I am pleased to say that I have learned that your circumstance does not determine where you go in life. As a qualified educator, which I am now, I wish to make a difference in many lives, the same way that people like you have made in mine. Thank you again for your generosity and your investment in making my dream a reality. I hope that you continue touching the lives of many others. May your world be filled with good and may you have many more success stories. With heartfelt gratitude, I thank you. Niki Jansen
We wish Niki all the success that he deserves.
That's all the news I have for you right now. As you can see we have been unable to embark on any new projects as our limited funds are earmarked for school fees now. Predictably, I need to end off with the usual appeal for donations no matter how small. Some of you have expressed concern about using the online facility on our website however I can assure you it is secure and you have no reason to fear it. However here are our bank details once again if you'd prefer to go the direct route:
ABSA Bank Somerset East Branch Code: 334418 61 Nojoli St, Somerset East, Eastern Cape, South Africa SWIFT Code: ABSAZAJJ Name of Savings Account: Siyakhulisa Trust Account No: 9197835105
Finally, a big thank you to those of you who have contributed in whatever way in the past few months.
As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Warm regards from South Africa where Winter has arrived! Lynne Brown And on behalf of Dr Alan Russell, Rosalee Bradfield and Alice Rawecki