Driving community projects in Mooi River
By Nerissa Card
She’s a full-time domestic worker, education co-ordinator for her church, the founder of a feeding scheme in Bruntville and she is studying business administration and management through Unisa.
Meet Mooi River’s Nobuhle Khanyile, who spoke to us about how her church raises money every year to send 60 disadvantaged KwaZulu-Natal youngsters to university.
Main picture: File photograph by Andre Hunter on Unsplash. Education is the key driver of development and opens the doors to employment and economic opportunities.
So how do they do it?
“Every Thursday we meet to share the word of God and make monetary offerings, which we deposit into a bank account so we can send young people to university,” says Nobuhle.
The KwaZulu-Natal branch of the Assemblies of God church is made up of three regions, Northern Natal, Durban and Districts, and Zululand. Twenty students are chosen from each region every year.
Being the education co-ordinator for the Northern Natal region, it falls to Nobuhle to recommend students in her area to the church’s education board.
“We look for those who cannot afford to go to university. The children need to have applied to university and be accepted before they can apply to the church for a loan. They also have to have a minimum 60-percent matric pass,” she says.
“Based on my recommendations, the board selects the students. We then pay the university to which they have been accepted. The loan covers their tuition fees and accommodation.”
Every year, the successful applicants have to reapply to further their studies. The same 60-percent pass rate applies in order for them to be considered for a further loan. Once they have obtained their degrees and started working, they are required to repay the loan at a rate of 10 percent of their monthly salary.
Nobuhle says that according to a 2016 report, 90 percent of students funded by the church went on to obtain degrees.
The Assemblies of God education project was started in 1954 by founder of the church, the late Nicholas Bhengu. Bhengu, who died in 1985, started the church in 1938.
Nobuhle is clearly passionate about education and goes on to tell me about her “baby”, the Buhlebenkosi Child Initiative Project, which she founded.
“In church we are looking at matrics, but I thought to myself, ‘what about early childhood education?’.
“I look at situations in homes in my community, where children go to school without food because their parents are sick or there is alcohol abuse. They are not going to get the results they need to take them through to matric if they go to school hungry, so I started a feeding scheme for children aged four to six.”
Nobuhle’s major challenge with the project, however, is funding.
The Parents Association of Clifton Primary School in Nottingham Road, with Joburg2C, has provided sponsorhip for the project, while owner of Notties’s Fuel & Gas Steve Bridgeford has donated a stove and provides gas every month. The principal of Bruntville Primary School has also come on board by giving Nobuhle’s team a place at the school from where they cook.
All pots, plates, cups etc, as well as the extra money required to keep the scheme running, are supplied by Nobuhle and the dedicated team that assists her.
*To help Nobuhle with funding, contact her on 071 809 8316.