The Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund, a financial resource that invests in the tertiary education of disadvantaged young women, has produced 12 female graduates over the past two years and every one of them is now successfully employed.
The young women have qualified in fields such as law, commerce and IT. Even more significantly, each one of them has become the first person in her family to graduate with a degree.

Says Cell C managing executive: CSI, Suzette van der Merwe: “We are extremely proud to have played a meaningful part in the lives of these young women. They have all come from challenging backgrounds and have had to work extra hard to achieve their dreams. Not only have they become role models for other young people in their communities, they are also able to take care of their families and make a meaningful contribution to the South African economy.”

Nhlalala and Zukiswa, both from Gugulethu in Cape Town, graduated from UCT with post graduate diplomas in accounting. Nhlalala is currently completing her Accountancy Articles at the Nkonki Audit firm in Johannesburg while Zukiswa is doing her Articles at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.

Letlhlogonolo from Pretoria has found a home in Cell C’s IT department after graduating in BTech IT: Support Services from the Tshwane University of Technology. Having graduated with BA Honours in Psychology from Wits, Soweto- born Nobuhle is now employed by the Ububele Education and Psychotherapy Trust.

Tatenda from Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal enrolled at the University of Johannesburg for a BSc Computer Science degree in 2015.

Says Van der Merwe: “It is impressive that Tatenda graduated in record time with wonderful results. She is now completing an internship at Discovery. Patience, who graduated with a law degree from Wits University, is now employed at Alexander Forbes.”

Beauty, Tumisang, Lindile and Eunice graduated in IT fields and have found work at Cell C, Torque IT and Tata Consulting Services respectively.

Ongeziwe earned her degree in taxation and has been taken on by auditing firm Ernst & Young while Angel studied international relations and industrial psychology and is working at Investec.

Van der Merwe continues: “The development and empowerment of young women is at the heart of Cell C’s corporate social investment initiatives. Education remains one of the most important means of achieving gender equity as it empowers women with knowledge, skills, self-confidence and social and economic status. These qualities enable women to participate meaningfully in our economy. Given the number of young women who are unemployed, and therefore vulnerable in every possible way, education is critical.”

Cell C partners with the Tomorrow Trust, a non-profit organisation that provides each bursary recipient with the necessary support in a holistic manner.

Explains Van der Merwe: “Tomorrow Trust’s valuable contribution through psycho- social support, life-skill development and academic support has delivered astounding results. Our 12 employed graduates are proof of this.”

The Tomorrow Trust’s Lorena El-Lakkis adds: “Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty by creating independent, well-rounded and self-sustainable graduates and it is through this that our partnership with Cell C was founded.”

Cell C receives support from donor partners DNI, MerSETA, Hellocomputer, Glocell’s Acorn Foundation and ABSA as well as Cell C shareholders and executives. Bursaries cover registration, tuition fees, books, accommodation and meals, a monthly allowance, data and ICT equipment.