Seven young people in Port Elizabeth are thanking God for life-changing bursaries provided through the Kusaidiana Trust — a ministry that was birthed out of recognising the plight of inner-city residents who lack the funds to pursue their career dreams.
“No words can explain how thankful I am for the generosity that has helped me on the journey to be a qualified electrician,” said trust beneficiary Tendai Robson. “Having qualifications means a lot to me for I can now hold my head high and do my work confidently. Thank you for letting God use you to touch my life.”
“I had lost hope of becoming an engineer or any chance of improving my situation, then God sent his angels, the Kusaidiana Trust. Now I have completed my first trimester with an 85% pass with distinction in science and 77% pass for drawings, and I have registered for my second trimester,” said Arnold Chiyama.
”Sometimes, in the face of all the need, we feel so small helping only seven people. But then I also realise if you only help one person, you are making a difference,” said Kusaidiana Trust founder Ilse Terblanche.
She said that she also realised that God was in control of the growth of the ministry and that He might be keeping them small while they were still learning the ropes.
Terblanche who has a background in missions mobilisation and a passion for discipleship, said while serving on the community development team of a church in the PE inner city area she developed relationships with young adults from other African countries and became aware of the struggles they faced.
She discussed the problem with like-minded people and after much prayer they began the process of registering the trust as a public benefit organisation (PBO) focusing on providing opportunities for financially-constrained African students to pursue career skills training or academic studies. The trust’s name, Kusaidiana is a Swahili expression, meaning “to support one another”.
In addition to providing bursaries, the trust aims to expose students to valuable life skills through enrolling them on the Work For a Living programme of Siyasebenza, and through providing one-on-one mentorship that includes career-focused and spritual elements.
Currently Kusaidiana is involved in PE’s inner city area — working through the church where they started, and is also partnering with the Solomon Mhlangu High School in Uitenhage, whose principal, Mncedi Mntengwana, is on the board. Other trustees include Prof Jean Greyling of NMMU and Erna Wasowicz, a bank operational risk manager.
Two local 2017 matriculants from Solomon Mhlangu are being supported in welding training at Eastcape Midlands College in Uitenhage. Other beneficiaries are being assisted in health carer training, hospitality training and teacher training.
Terblanche said that as the ministry grows they aim to develop relationships with more communities and schools who can help identify suitable bursary candidates.
They also hoped to partner with businesses and individuals who would like to contribute towards meeting bursary costs, and they were open to synergy with others working in a similar sphere.
She said while skills training was not as expensive as university training, it took about R30 000 to R40 000 to take a student through to trade tests.
From the outset she realised that they would have to trust the Lord for finances to help promising students who were held back by poverty. She recalled soon after they launched how one morning she asked God in her quiet time for confirmation that He would be the trust’s provider.
“I went to church that day and people sitting in front of us turned around and said: ‘We just want to tell you that we are going to deposit R60 000 into the trust’s account. And it was not the money that meant the most but that I had asked the Lord that He would be the provider,’ she said.
“I feel there are many people out there who could make small donations which could add up to helping someone. The carer course is R5 000. And that’s not so much money, but it’s changing someones life.”
She said she would also like to see mature Christians getting involved in student mentoring, for example by meeting with a young person once a month.
“It is easy in South Africa now to talk and act negatively. But I really believe every person can make a difference to the lives of the people in our country. The Lord has taught us that His heart is with the least, the marginalised. So we have a choice — to be negative and not involved, or to make a difference.”