The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Education Trust last year provided bursaries to 84 children of military personnel killed or severely injured on duty with a total value of just under R1.5 million.
In its first year of operation – 2013 – the Trust was able to provide bursary funding for 29 children. Now in its seventh year of existence the Trust, under the chairmanship of SANDF Reserves Chief, Major General Roy Andersen, has all told assisted 125 children to complete studies at primary, secondary and tertiary level.
General Solly Shoke, SANDF chief, is the Trust’s founder and its patron is respected businessman and SANDF honorary colonel Dr Irvin Khoza.
In its latest information bulletin the Trust lists achievements including 13 bursary beneficiaries completing their tertiary studies, obtaining either a degree or diploma. Among qualifications earned are a commercial flying license, degrees in commerce, human resources and journalism as well as a hairdressing diploma.
As far as its fundraising is concerned, the Trust does not make use of any government funding. It is funded from private sector donations and serving SANDF members as well as income from investments.
The bulletin further notes “no funds are paid directly to beneficiaries but go to the schools/institutions” and beneficiaries have to apply annually so progress can be monitored.
Bursary applications for the 2020 academic year are currently being processed.
In 2019 the Trust awarded 45 primary school bursaries, 23 to secondary school scholars and 16 to tertiary education students.
The Trust’s mission is to “Effectively and efficiently provide and manage resources in support of the education of children or dependents of soldiers who died on active duty or members of the SANDF and DOD severely injured on active duty”.