Phonathon raises R1m in five weeks

A University of the Western Cape fund-raising campaign to support students has raised more than R1.6 million in pledges in three weeks.

The Alumni Phonathon is helping academically performing UWC students get the opportunities and resources they need to complete their qualifications.

The campaign exceeded a target to raise R1m in five weeks.

Samantha Castle, manager of UWC’s alumni relations office, thanked everyone involved for making the fund-raiser a success.

“We say a big thank you to you for your positive contribution,” she said.

The phonathon was part of the Access to Success campaign, a partnership between UWC and the SABC, which saw 50 students calling UWC alumni across South Africa to reconnect, update their contact details and raise funds.

Meanwhile a team from the alumni office visited faculties and departments to get staff to pledge donations.

Rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said the students’ participation showed their spirit of volunteerism at a time when the higher education sector was short of money and underprivileged students faced a tough fight to free themselves from the jaws of poverty in an increasingly unequal society.

“As a country we will be doing well if our universities can produce students who are not only armed with technical skills and knowledge, but also armed with a social conscience to do what is morally right. And voluntary campaigns like this are
about developing the social conscience to always do what is morally right.

“We need more volunteers in South Africa; we need people who have a sense of urgency that we are shapers of our own destiny,” he said.

SABC Western Cape general manager, James Shikwambana said, the student protests “have forced us to think deeper about access to higher education and about the structure of our society. And when we were approached we didn’t hesitate to throw our weight behind the campaign to raise the fees”.