Thirteen University of Pretoria (UP) students and alumni, in conjunction with the Elim Full Gospel Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, will be walking from Cape Town to Pretoria from 21 March to 10 April to over raise funds for needy students.
This initiative, called #Walk4Access, was established by the church and UP students to raise funds to offset students’ historical debt at the university, which will enable students to complete their degrees. According to Pastor Immanuel Landman, the church has had close ties with UP since 2016 and is aware of the challenges facing the higher education sector. “By walking, we want to channel private activism into creating positive solutions to challenges.”
The group will walk every day from one town to the next, having a sleepover rest in each town. The aim is to raise R2.00 from every South African per day for the duration of the walk, while the group has also set up interviews with the media to create public awareness of the campaign. They also intend taking the campaign to schools.
“We have tried to help needy students in our personal capacity but this is not sufficient, hence this initiative. The fact that UP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tawana Kupe, will make a donation for this initiative clearly shows that this matter needs attention, and we are truly grateful for this,” said Pastor Landman.
Funds raised will also be used to assist students who receive funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to purchase laptops and basic necessities, as well as address student hunger. “We are also talking to investors to help us develop low-cost accommodation for students,” according to Pastor Landman.
“These students are our future. We need critical thinkers and people with skills who can start businesses. We need to take responsibility for our economy.”
According to Marcus Mashinini, Administrator and Marketing, #Walk4Access: “The expectations are high, the hopes are that many academics, alumni and even the private sector will recognise the need for intervention and play a role in being part of the solution.”
Pastor Landman is hoping that the initiative will become a national one that could assist indigent students at other universities.
Meanwhile, Prof Kupe said: “The #Walk4Access initiative is an innovative student-driven campaign that will address a pressing need. It requires all our support.”
The Central Organising Committee of #Walk4Access comprises UP alumni, student representatives, Elim Full Gospel Church congregants and its management, the surrounding communities and affected university students. They and the Elim church members have funded the campaign. However, sponsorships and donations such as first-aid kits, shoes/sneakers, sunscreen, backpacks, sleeping bags, fruit, water, energy drinks, energy bars, fuel for support vehicles and ready-to-eat meals are still required. For sponsorships or donations in kind, please call Pastor Landman on 083 458 4064.
Details for cash donations are as follows:
Bank : ABSA
Account name : Elim Students
Account number : 4054822369
Reference : #Walk4Access
Branch : Hatfield
Branch code : 335545
Funds raised will be audited by the church and the University.