As a fourth year student at the University of the Free State, Neo Gift Maibiri, from the Deben
community, in the Gamagara Municipality, Northern Cape, is just a few steps away from achieving
his BA in Education, despite the curve ball that COVID-19 threw last year. His career dream extends to studying further, in the pursuit of an honorary award, so that he can become a professor in the field of education one day and possibly influence the Department of Education’s approach to learning.
“Last year was really tricky but one thing that made a difference was getting data, which was funded by REISA as part of the scholarship programme, of which I am a beneficiary. It made such a difference because I didn’t have any extra money for data and we needed to do work at home,
without it I would have truly been stuck. Last year actually ended up as being one of my best years. I received a total of six distinctions,” said Neo Gift Maibiri.
He went on to explain, “Our family felt the effects of job loss last year, so the funding was all I had, and this motivated me to truly give everything I had. I am pleased that my hard work paid off and this has inspired me to work even harder this year.”
The beauty of scholarships, is that they offer youth the opportunity to fulfil their dreams and career aspirations, in addition to relieving the financial strain on guardians. Financial support of this kind is also often the only option available for after-school education.
“I completed matric in 2016 and was accepted to study at University, but didn’t have the financial means. A bursary was my only option and it has been of great help and I am extremely grateful for it. My Mother does not need to worry about sending me money because the Bursary covers everything,” explained Neo, who sees the greater impact that the scholarship programme is having on his community.
“Learners from local high schools have limited opportunities to access scholarships. REISA’s
Scholarship Fund specifically targets learners in these beneficiary towns to ensure that the
opportunities are afforded to locals and that they do not have to compete against learners from
other provinces,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for REISA.
The REISA Scholarship Fund which launched four years ago, aims to provide tertiary education
funding for youth living within a 50km radius of the solar facility. The focus is to contribute towards human resource development in fields considered critical for the South African economy. Study fields include Teaching, Engineering, Natural and Social Sciences, Environment and Nursing.