Ms Sonke Magadlela, who graduated from UKZN with a Bachelor of Social Sciences degree, says she learned a lot about human behaviour during her studies and now feels equipped with the necessary skills to take on leadership roles in her community.
Magadlela – funded through a bursary from the Silibona Education Trust – paid tribute to the NGO, which also mentored her during her undergraduate years.
‘Receiving the bursary dispelled my financial worries and through a partnership with Shaping Futures Foundation, my debt was cleared.
‘From the bottom of my heart, I thank them,’ she said.
Founded in 2016, Silibona has so far mentored and funded18 young women graduates, two of whom are from UKZN and the remainder from the University of Cape Town.
The Silibona Education Trust provides financial support and mentoring to help female students complete their tertiary studies. The mentorship programme also provides support to deal with day-to-day challenges.
According to Ms Mandy Cobbing who runs the Durban programme, it is designed to pair each student with a female mentor, who provides counselling. The mentors and mentees communicate regularly and meet at least three times a year.
‘The mentorship session is a safe space for the students to talk about any current challenges and to get advice and support from their mentor,’ said Cobbing. ‘Students are encouraged to guide the mentorship relationship which if functioning well can provide a platform that gives the mentees the assurance that they are not alone, gives them insight into how their challenges could be overcome, and gives them the support and confidence to continue.’
Magadlela, who says the mentorship programme ‘has had a profound effect on my life,’ now plans to pursue postgraduate studies.
Her advice to other students is: ‘Believe in yourself.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo