Matie alumna Karlijne Van Bree knows the value of a good education and wants to make sure such privilege is extended to fellow Matie students. And that is the reason why she has donated to Stellenbosch University's Bridge the Gap (BTG) campaign, says Karlijne.
BTG is the University's annual fundraising campaign that was launched in 2021. The campaign invites alumni, the student community, staff, parents, and friends of the University to support our students in overcoming the financial obstacles blocking their path to success. The aim of the campaign is to close the gap between talent and financial need and make a tangible difference in the lives of Matie students.
The University is raising funds for various initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include: #Move4Food and the Tygerberg Pantry Project to curb student hunger; #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, Caught in the Middle, and #Zim4Zim to clear outstanding student debt; #EndPeriodPoverty to make sanitary hygiene products available to students who cannot afford them; and #MatiesHaveDrive to provide driver training for students who require a driving licence in order to get a job. Supporters can choose which priority initiative they would like to support, whether that is a particular initiative or the Fund in general.
Karlijne, who is a councillor in Grimbergen, Belgium, says the experiences she acquired, both academically and personally, will stay with her for the rest of her life.
“In 2001, I was able to study for one year at Stellenbosch University. Before that, I had worked for three years as a trainee attorney in a law firm in Flanders, but it was actually already a childhood wish to study in South Africa one day. Both the country and Afrikaans appealed to me and the university in Stellenbosch seemed like an environment where I could feel at home. Indeed, I found friends for life."
Karlijne says she studied mainly private international law and gained a lot of knowledge that enabled her quickly to find work at the Ministry of Justice in Brussels. “For 15 years, I was able to put the theory I had gained about international child abduction into practice."
She believes education and the acquisition of theoretical knowledge are important for a person's development. “It provides a basis for the future and helps many to become self-reliant in life by making it easier to find a job or become more self-confident.
“By making this donation, I hope to have been able to help at least one person receive or obtain an education at Stellenbosch University. In this way, I hope to have been a small link in the larger BTG project, and who knows, perhaps one day the student who has been assisted will be able to contribute to others."