For many prospective university students and their parents, the burden of student fees is something that keeps them up at night. Thankfully, through funding initiatives like Project Zero, many students from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) can complete their studies without financial worries or student debt.
In 2015, the Faculty launched Project Zero, an initiative to reduce to zero the actual cost of studying at SU for talented students. Project Zero bursaries, together with the University's recruitment and merit bursaries, cover the recipients' tuition, accommodation and living expenses.
At the 2018 December graduation, five Project Zero recipients will be graduating. Kamir Arjun (BAcc), Salona Burdhu (BCom Actuarial Science), Levern Fortuin (BAcc), Panashe Hakutangwi (BCom Actuarial Science) and Aishah Karaan (BAcc) will all be receiving their respective degrees.
(In the photo above: Panashe Hakutangwi)
According to Kamir, the Project Zero bursary helped him to achieve his dream of pursuing a degree in the business field. “I love the world of business, it absolutely fascinates me. Ever since I was a young boy, I used to make products and sell them. From that moment, I knew that I needed a set of skills that can empower me to make sound financial decisions so that I can be financially free as an adult, which led me on the journey to becoming a chartered accountant."
Kamir says that the bursary also took away all financial burdens, which helped him to have a more enriching Matie experience. “Project Zero removed one of the biggest financial overheads from me – student debt. The bursary gave me peace of mind knowing that I can study and not have to be stressed about how I am going to afford my studies."
After graduation, Kamir plans to pursue an honours degree in Accounting at SU and hopes one day to provide mentorship to students who are also following the Chartered Accountancy path.
For Salona Burdhu, getting funding through Project Zero made her feel like she was part of an amazing family. “It has helped me with networking, as I got to meet other recipients of the bursary who were studying in the same field, and over the years we've created a support structure and memories were made with wonderful friends."
(In the photo above: Salona Burdhu)
Salona also plans to pursue an honours degree in Actuarial Science at SU and hopes to gain enough experience in the future so that she can one day innovate the actuarial profession.
Levern and Aishah says they wouldn't have been able to achieve their goals without the bursary funding. “Project Zero has motivated me to continuously work hard throughout my studies, without the weight of student debt on my shoulders. The cost of tertiary education is an ongoing struggle and many are still unable to enter the doors of university because they do not have the means to afford it's benefits. Project Zero has opened those doors for me in order that I may reap those benefits," says Aishah.
Levern plans to continue her studies at SU next year and hopes to use her qualifications in job opportunities abroad.
The Project Zero bursary is based on the academic merit of black, coloured and Indian students. If you wish to contribute to the Project Zero initiative or apply for a bursary, contact the Faculty Manager, MJ Brooks, at 021 808 2078 or email@example.com for more information.
Photos by Stefan Els.
In the main photo from left to right: Levern Fortuin, Kamir Arjun, Aishah Karaan.
Other stories on the Project Zero bursary: