Ricochet News

Uitenhage Grade 12 learners receive, scholarships, bursaries and graduate placement opportunities

Jul 26, 2018
Uitenhage Grade 12 learners receive, scholarships, bursaries and graduate placement opportunities

Uitenhage-based national poultry products producer, Sovereign Foods, showed its commitment to long-term sustainable development of youth after surprising four academically-deserving, but financial needy learners from Uitenhage-based schools with scholarship and bursary awards on Wednesday. 

Sovereign Foods engaged six schools in communities with levels of high income inequality, unemployment and poverty in Uitenhage. 

The recipients were selected following dialogue sessions with Uitenhage school principals to identify students, and then followed a formal assessment process based purely on academic performance through official academic transcripts and level of need based on family circumstances.

Sovereign Foods awarded an amount of R10 000 scholarships to each grade 12 learner in Phase one to cover the cost of the remainder of their current matric year giving much-needed hope and motivation.

The learners who were surprised with the news were Siyabulela Loro and Kezia Mtila both from V.M. Kwinana Senior Secondary School in Kwanobuhle and Onodwa Jantjies and Zandile Satiti both from Rocklands Intermediate School.

Following the scholarship announcement, Sovereign Foods’ CEO Chris Coombes informed the learners that the company would also contribute towards their tertiary education and that the students will also have the opportunity to take part in the Sovereign Foods Graduate Development Programme. This programme will give them, as young graduates, the chance to gain valuable work experience in one of the many departments at Sovereign Foods.

The learners, their parents and guardians and school staff were unaware of the announcements.

Siyabulela Loro, 17 years old, from V.M. Kwinana High School was “very excited and speechless” when the he was informed about the support he will receive from Sovereign Foods. He lives with his aunt in Kwanobuhle and is basically supported through the SASSA grant.

“I am happy that Sovereign Foods is ploughing back into the community and that I am one of those benefitting. This is a complete surprise to me. I want to study accounting one day and have applied to different universities. The scholarship will help this year with paying for additional maths classes, groceries at home because one can’t go to school and focus if you are hungry. I also would like to buy a laptop which I will need for homework and can use next year,” said Loro.

Another V.M. Kwinana grade 12 learner, Kezia Mtila, said she was excited and happy. Kezia would like to study law.

Kezia was joined with her father Mandla at the event yesterday.

“I am very happy. This announcement was so unexpected. I am pleased that my hard work and sacrifices have been recognized and I hope to do better in the future,” Kezia said.

“This was completely unexpected and unbelievable. The scholarship will help to pay for new school shoes as her current pair has holes in it,” said Mandla Mtila.

Onodwa Jantjies, a grade 12 learner at Rocklands Intermediate School called the support from Sovereign Foods “huge”.

“I was speechless when they made the announcements. I need school shoes, application fees for universities, money for an upcoming school camp to help us prepare to write our matric and a laptop,” said Onodwa.

Onodwa would like to study to be a psychiatrist.

Her mother Nosizwe Jantjies is a single mom and in addition to the social grant they receive occasionally sells cosmetic products to survive.

“It is very difficult at home. This support from Sovereign Foods means a lot. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. There is definitely a need for this type of support,” said Nosizwe.

Zandile Satiti a grade 12 learner, 17 years old, at Rocklands Intermediate “when I heard about the scholarship and the bursary I was totally excited and emotional. I need a new calculator and a new school bag. It will also help with groceries at home because it is difficult to focus in school when you are hungry.  My sister who is the only breadwinner in the house came with me and we both cried when we heard the good news,” said Zandile who wants to study business management.

Councillor Phakamisa Mfama of ward 42 said “I am very pleased to see there are still companies willing to plough back into the community. At the present moment, we are faced with crime in our communities because there is a high unemployment rate. This support from Sovereign is going to assist. It takes one light to accommodate hundreds of people, these kids who received the scholarship will make a change in the lives of those in the community of Kwanobuhle,” Mfama said.

Jason Grobbelaar, Ward 40 Councillor, said “this is a wonderful opportunity for these children”.

“Their future is in their own hands now. With hard work they will be ensured of a bright future,” Grobbelaar said.

Sovereign Foods is a leader and innovator in poultry production and manufacturing and is focused on creating wealth not only for its strategic partners but also for society and the communities within its surroundings. 

“Under our Corporate Social Investment programme, Sovereign Cares, is committed to supporting the development of previously disadvantaged communities in and around the Uitenhage area, especially KwaNobuhle and Rocklands”, Thuto Maepa, Sovereign Foods Group Executive Human Resources said.

“Education is a core focus area of our CSI programme and this year we have decided to support academically deserving, but financially needy grade 12 learners as they complete their final school year. Our goal is to change our communities for the better through education and therefore better opportunities. This can be done by not just companies but also individuals through changing just one student’s life at a time. Slowly the effects of what we are doing will be felt throughout our communities,” she said.

“You have made your schools, parents and communities proud and we are honoured to be able to offer you some support as you embark on the final leg of your high school journey,” Maepa said.

Chris Coombes, Sovereign Foods’ CEO explained that, together with this year’s scholarship, Sovereign Foods has committed to supporting the learners through their tertiary education and career preparedness journeys. 

“Each of these learners have demonstrated great commitment, dedication and diligence over the past few years and have succeeded in producing commendable results. This is despite often difficult circumstances,” he said.

“Whether you are wanting to go into agricultural management, engineering, HR, food safety, accounting or any other field related to Sovereign’s business operations our graduate development programme will provide you with the experience needed to kick start your career,” he concluded. 

Image: SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS: Sovereign Foods CEO Chris Coombes and Group Executive Human Resources Thuto Maepa with the learners who were awarded scholarships and bursaries at an event held in Uitenhage. The scholarship recipients from left are, were Kezia Mtila and Siyabulela Loro both from V.M. Kwinana Senior Secondary School in Kwanobuhle and Onodwa Jantjies and Zandile Satiti both from Rocklands Intermediate School.