03 Aug 10 years of educational support to VWSA employees’ children
In July 2011, as part of their extensive and ongoing investments in education and youth development, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) started a bursary programme that would open doors for the children of its employees.
In the 10 years that followed, the Children of VW bursary programme has funded quality education for 77 learners to attend prestigious schools and even universities throughout the country. The programme, which selects and supports top achieving learners, has partnered with 10 high schools – including Woodridge College, Collegiate Girls’ High, Grey High, Riebeek College, Muir College and Kearsney College in KwaZulu Natal – to bring new opportunities to employees’ children.
Through the programme, the chosen learners are then placed with these schools and funded through VWSA. Some learners have also received support in their tertiary studies. To date, VWSA has invested over R18 million in furthering the education of the bursary beneficiaries.
Among the beneficiaries who will attest to the value of the programme is Chrizney Butler, currently a Grade 11 learner at Woodridge College. Chrizney, who earned seven distinctions in her first term this year, has been supported by the bursary programme for four years. “The support really means a lot to me; I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I am very grateful to be able to attend such a prestigious school, which has pushed me beyond my comfort zone to grow in all aspects of my life. The Children of VW programme has given me the opportunity to become the best version of myself, and I can’t thank VWSA enough.”
Another beneficiary, Liyema Jacobs, was given support through the programme to attend Kearsney College from Grade 10 to Grade 12. Liyema, who is currently in his second year of medical studies, made the most of the opportunity and matriculated in 2019 with six distinctions – including a 94% mark for Mathematics that made him one of a handful of top achievers nationally in this subject.
Both Liyema’s parents are employees at VWSA. “The bursary helped us a lot,” said Skhumbuzo Bodo, Liyema’s father. “It was a door that opened for him. I wish the Children of VW programme a happy 10th anniversary. Their bursary support is making a huge difference in the lives of parents and to the future of our children.”
The Children of VW programme is only one initiative that VWSA manages in the education sector. The VW Community Trust has in recent years established five literacy centres at schools in Kariega, with the aim of ensuring that each learner in Kariega is able to read with understanding by the end of Grade 3.
“Education and youth development is a priority for the Community Trust and for VWSA,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, Director for Corporate and Government Affairs at VWSA. “We have continuously played an active role in empowering the youth – whether or not they are children of our employees, or children of our communities. This milestone is a proud achievement and I look forward to many more years of building bright futures wherever we can.”