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Students walk the talk in aid of fellow students

- Wits University

15 Wits students are set to walk 1000km to raise funds for bursaries.

The higher education sector is facing challenging times with student funding at the centre of student protests. In light of the challenges around access to funding, 15 courageous students will embark on a 1000km walk to raise funds to assist their peers.

The walk/campaign named, Feet4Fees will see students attempt to walk from Wits University, with a number of ambassadors (hikers), and support vehicles, to Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. The walk begins on 1 December 2016 and participants aim to arrive in Port Elizabeth on 20 December 2016.

More students are anticipated to join the group as other institutions of higher learning are visited along the way. A send-off event will be held for the students on 1 December 2016. The media is invited to attend.

Date: Thursday, 01 December 2016

Time: 09:00

Venue: Great Hall Piazza, Braamfontein Campus East, Wits University

Reuben Oosthuysen, founder of the Feet4Fees movement and a third year Bachelor of Arts student at Wits University says he felt compelled to act when he witnessed the daily plight  of his peers, some of whom were sleeping under desks in empty tutorial venues or libraries.

The values of Madiba and a pilgrimage in Europe further spurred him into action.

“When I heard about the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage in Europe, my interest quickly transformed into rather doing such a pilgrimage in South Africa, with education funding as the cause. This walk will also honour Madiba, who had a sincere passion for education and undertook his “long walk to freedom” and subsequently freed all of us.”

The education ambassadors are backed by StudyTrust, a well -respected national bursary administration organisation. An additional six students from the Trust will participate in the walk.

The project aims to raise R1000 for each kilometre the ambassadors cover with donations from private individuals and corporate sponsors. This translates to a minimum of R1 000 000. 

All proceeds generated by this project will go directly to StudyTrust, for distribution to students studying at various institutions in South Africa. With a history of more than 40 years, StudyTrust has a history in empowering South Africa’s youth by linking potential to higher and further study opportunities.

The walkers will also undertake other activities en route to their destination. This includes stopping at a number of schools in order to create awareness on study options and various sources of financial aid. The learners will also be introduced to online platforms for school subject tutoring. 

How to contribute

There are mainly three options, but any other form of support will be appreciated:

1. Pledge to sponsor any amount of kilometres at R1000 per kilometre

2. Make a contribution towards the gear and provisions required to cover expenses incurred by the ambassadors (walkers) and support team in order to cover the distance

3. Sponsor or partially sponsor a specific student bursary. Customised beneficiary election criteria (e.g. particular fields of study) can be accommodated and an engagement with StudyTrust will be facilitated