Our youth - and especially historically disadvantaged young people - face enormous challenges in today's unforgiving world.
The lack of opportunity is a very real and present challenge in the prevailing South African environment and is a significantly de-motivating factor in the lives of those desperate to get ahead in life.
Every year thousands of learners work to obtain a university entrance Matric result, only to discover that access is greatly limited, compounded by affordability issues.
In so many instances, a university education, passionately pursued, becomes the defining moment between abject poverty and life-altering, dignified prosperity for would-be students and, often, their extended families.
It is for this reason that almost two decades ago we introduced a Bursary Programme, designed to change the lives of recipients and create a dramatic shift in their social circumstances.
Originally launched, as a new project, in 1997 and with expenditure totalling just R20 000, our Bursary Programme has grown exponentially, with average expenditure of between R5 million and R6 million a year and benefiting hundreds of students in recent times. Given existing needs across the country, we afford priority to students entering the medical and allied health sciences.
Many of today's professionals and individuals active in both the corporate and public sector to have benefited from a Gift of the Givers Bursary have emerged from the shadow of poverty, rising above their childhood circumstances to live a life of prosperity and business success. Such individuals can and will relate to the emotional state of so many others labouring is similar dire circumstances, wondering how to escape the poverty trap.
We receive applications (accompanied by a copy of the student's ID, a letter of acceptance in the case of first-year students, a copy of their latest academic transcript and a letter of motivation), all of which are reviewed by our Bursary Committee. Students selected for Bursary qualification and engaged by the Committee, whose members are responsible for ensuring that each recipient performs consistently and at an acceptable level.
We make provision for separate Bursary allocations in the cases of both Zakaat students and B-BBEE/SED candidates.
Our Bursary Programme now extends to include Palestine, working in conjunction with Al Quds University and the Islamic University of Gaza.