“On the eve of what would have been Nelson Mandela’s centenary, we encourage all South Africans to take the spirit of giving back beyond 67 Minutes and into their everyday lives,” says Donné Nicol, Chief Executive Officer at the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. “For the past 22 years our partner entity, the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET), has instilled the belief that every individual has the ability and potential to make a positive impact,” continues Nicol.
CRET, a bursary fund started by President Cyril Ramaphosa that was originally funded by money he earned at public speaking events, goes further than supplying financial support to its students by instilling values of civic mindedness and community service as well. This holistic approach produces young people committed to making South Africa a better place.
“The programme, which has assisted 132 students to date, has seen many of its beneficiaries go on to do inspiring community development work in South Africa. The CRET alumni have also taken it upon themselves to start the ‘Alumni Fund’, which has already funded the studies of two more promising students,” says Chantel Oosthuizen, Executive Director of CRET.
Twice a year, CRET students and a number of alumni and staff, take part in the organisation’s ‘Vacation Programme’, that spans three days and helps students to build and foster relationships. One day of the programmes is dedicated to community service, where students and alumni carry out the organisation’s ethos of compassion.
Last month, 60 CRET students and several alumni and staff, cooked, cleaned and volunteered their time at the Abangeni Enkosini Orphanage in Alexandra as part of the programme. “I am grateful to the CRET family for promoting a culture of giving back through their many interventions. I will hold this experience dear to my heart and continue to give back in the same way they have given so generously to me,” says Letlhogonolo Masilo, a 4th year BA Governance and Political Transformation Studies student at University of the Free State.
“It is through first-hand experience of platforms such as this and others like CRET’s ‘Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day’, ‘Tracker Men in the Making Day’ and many more, that beneficiaries are inspired to carry on the commitment to giving back into their everyday lives. Since the organisation’s inception, we have inspired students and alumni to start and lead bridging institutions, volunteer programmes, fundraising and charity organisations,” says Oosthuizen.
“Although we have a great focus on and respect for education, it is going to take more than academics to create a better future for South Africa. Our country needs a group of leaders that are hardworking, passionate and kind; which is what we hope to achieve by instilling this philosophy into all of our students,” Oosthuizen concludes.