Dear Feet4Fees sponsor/contributor and interested parties
As you may have heard, our group of 15 students, having departed from Johannesburg on 1 December, arrived safely in P.E. on 19 December. We are very grateful for the send-off received from Wits, the welcome from the University of the Free State, when we shuffled through Bloemfontein and ultimately the hospitable welcome at NMMU.
Our goal was not simply to raise funds, but to create awareness of the situation and need for funding in the tertiary education system of South Africa. Feet4Fees undoubtedly entered the thoughts and conversations of countless individuals across the nation. This initiative won a LEAD SA Hero award and was even discussed in Parliament. The impact of this project, which is surely immeasurable, will permeate and be felt for years to come.
Your support and contribution enabled us to raise substantial positive media awareness for the plight of (future) students and for tertiary education, but it also enabled us to raise nearly R7m. The majority being a corporate commitment towards student bursaries, to be released over the next 5 years, but also a portion of cash contributions. As awareness about Feet4Fees grew, individuals, en route, recognised the team and would often stop us to encourage the team or even make contributions. This is proof of how all South Africans want to rally towards creating a better future for our children and our country.
This said, our success story has only begun. 2017 is another year, and there are still many potential students without opportunity. We hope to make Feet4Fees a household name, and annually make a statement for the importance of the need for funding at tertiary level.
We are very aware that the funds we have raised are but only a drop in the ocean and we invite you to engage in your board rooms on how your company can direct further funding towards bursaries.
Your contribution also changed the lives of the 15 students whom walked the 1000km, whom each experienced personal growth and joy in having had the opportunity to make a difference; to see the ocean for the first time (even if they had to walk there!). We are certainly better equipped to continue “paying it forward”.
I also want to extend my sincere thanks to Murray Hofmeyr from StudyTrust, for all the guidance, moral and administrative support. I have developed an enormous appreciation for the work you do and the lives you are changing.
Siphamandla, one of our team members, whom has received acclaim for his film Soweto: Times of Wrath, is also in the process of producing a documentary about the project.
I would like to finish where everything started…with a quote from Nelson Mandela. He said:
I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.
We are not certain what the next step is, but hope that the Feet4Fees initiative may grow and evolve to continue the positive momentum that has been created. Should you/your company be interested to take the Feet4Fees initiative forward, please let me know.
To every person whom donated and helped us to reach our goal: thank you for making a difference. I am grateful for our sponsors whom invested so enthusiastically in this project and making a dream a reality.
There will be numerous obstacles on the road to accessible education in South Africa. But together, I believe there will be no distance we cannot cover. Let us all respond to the call to aid future generations of South Africa now.
Wits Student & Feet4Fees Initiator
079 876 2127