A bursary is the equivalent of a key – instrumental in unlocking students’ potential and enabling them to achieve the goals they have set themselves. This is especially true for Kelly Turner from Strandfontein and Thembalethu Seyisi from Uitenhage, the first recipients of the Ciucci bursaries awarded by the Stella Foundation.
The founders of the Stella Foundation, Giuseppe and Kathleen Ciucci, are both alumni of Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Law and they have supported the Faculty for a number of years, both in the form of bursaries and by way of the Ciucci Law Development Initiative.
The objective of the Ciucci bursaries is to enable underprivileged students to obtain an outstanding academic qualification that will eventually lead to them making a positive contribution to society and the country in general.
Kelly, who is studying towards a BA Law degree, and Thembalethu, who is registered for an LLB degree, are both extremely grateful, not only because this full scholarship removes the financial burden of studying but also because it turned their dreams into reachable goals.
Kelly, who matriculated from Norman Henshilwood High School, chose to study law as a result of her circumstances. “I had plenty of friends who were sexually assaulted and had poor legal help and I saw the need for more legal action in the country. I want to improve the country I call my home and be able to address things that greatly disgruntle me.”
Thembalethu, who lost his mother when he was in Grade 7, moved to Cape Town in 2014 to live with an older sister and complete his schooling at Oaklands High School. He was inspired to study law after reading former president Nelson Mandela’s biography A long walk to freedom.
“I believe that law is a noble profession and that a law degree will open doors for me to move into the public space where I can help others. The leadership in SA is quite disappointing at the moment and this motivates me to keep on going.”
He believes that everyone has a responsibility to do whatever they can in their sphere of influence to improve the situation in South Africa.
Thembalethu’s desire to play a role in the public space was further encouraged by this bursary. He quotes Madiba who once said: “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it”. For Thembalethu, the donors are a true embodiment of these words.
“They’ve made the world a better place for me and for that I’m very grateful.”
Kelly would also like to have an impact on her community and broader society.
“I would love to be an attorney, publisher and foundation/charity owner. I want to have a charity foundation named FLAG (Fight Like A Girl) aimed at uplifting women and children who are victims of abuse, albeit sexual, physical or mental. I also want to encourage children in crime-filled areas (like my neighbourhood at home) to stay in school.
“I know where I want to be in the future and what I want and I know that without education I couldn't do it. When I heard I was a recipient of this bursary I was filled with an unfathomable amount of gratitude.”
According to Kathleen Ciucci, they were very impressed with the students’ go-getter attitude.
“They are very mature as well as willing and able to work hard. It is a pleasure to spend time with them and listen to their enthusiasm for their studies, law and the future of South Africa. We are grateful that we could be in a situation to give back to the South African community in such a positive way. We believe that both of these students have the potential to be the leaders of the future and we look forward to watching then grow and develop.”