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Underprivileged matriculants benefit from ‘HAM’ assistance

Matric is one of the most stressful times in an adolescent’s life. After a hectic year and when the new one starts, thousands of matriculants across the country anxiously await their results to be released. But, after all the jubilation and celebrations, the question lingers on many matriculants minds – what next?

Thanks to organisations such as HAM (Help A Matriculant) — that look to make the lives of matriculants who come from underprivileged backgrounds easier by helping them in every way possible; hundreds of learners can answer that question.

HAM is a non-profit organization that was founded in March 2017 by Nondumiso Mahlanze and Bongeka Khawula. They are young people armoured with the will to help the youth get access to education. The pair operates within KZN and caters for 300-500 matriculants who come from quintiles 1&2 schools in the rural areas.

The foundation headhunts various schools and works with them by conducting school workshops. During these workshops, vital and necessary information that learners need to know about tertiary education and life after school is shared. These include bursary opportunities, partnerships, apprenticeships and the likes.

Speaking to Bongeka Khawula, she highlights why they saw the need to start-up this organisation: “Our reason for starting this NGO was due to results from research we conducted in local rural areas, where we found these learners do not receive the same information about university as those in more informative areas.”

She continued by saying: “Additionally, with the fast-approaching fourth industrial revolution in our country learners from rural areas lag behind, as most applications are urged to be done online, including NSFAS. Therefore, HAM is there to assist our government in this new paperless economy with ensuring rural areas are kept up to date.”

The most critical aspect of studying is funding. Hence, HAM also keeps in contact with financial institutions but with the lack of resources, this proves to be a challenge for the foundation. Lack of financing hinders with the organisation’s goals to cover as many schools in their quota as possible.

Despite all of that, these challenges have not stopped the 100% youth-owned organisation from growing, as it believes in youth development from all spheres. Yearly it hosts events for the youth, including the newly established annual Nelson Mandela Day Food Drive which was initiated in 2018.

“The government should create more practical and radical solutions to help organisations such as ours. That means, being more aware of these issues, responding to our cry for help and helping us create awareness in every way possible. This could get more community members involved in assisting us,” Bongeka explains.

Since its inception, HAM has grown in numbers and the young people it assists. One of its missions is to simply change the mind the of a young child who opts to go job seeking instead of attending lectures.

Schools that need the assistance of the organisation can contact them on social media. Their Instagram and Facebook handle is @helpamatriculant. Alternatively you can call them on: +27 63 137 0715 / +27 79 333 7984.

~ jess@ngcoboempire.co.za

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