By Chelsea Haith
Calls of “Come forth to give five!” rang across the Kaif all week long, drawing students and staff into the community of giving and reminding us to contribute to the annual campaign. 2016’s Give 5 campaign has raised R83800.00 so far. Botha House is the winning residence and Founders Hall won the trophy.
Alumni Relationas Officer Terryl McCarthy explained that the 2016 campaign was palpably special due to the students’ committment to the cause. “This year you could see the energy on campus. We were overwhelmed by the response and the enthusiasm,” she said.
Give5 raises money for the Pocket Money Fund and for bursaries for underprivileged students. The campaign is student led and student oriented. “The only reason Give 5 is a success is because we use the Senior Students and Community Engagement reps of each residence. We do a lot of organising, but when it comes to the fundraising, that is student driven,” McCarthy explained.
One of the student organisers on the campaign is Gorata Chengeta whose passion for helping others is part of her desire to create a more equitable society. “No student should have to worry about where they’ll get money. To me, Give5 is a small way of addressing a big injustice,” she explained.
An example of the necessity of the campaign is the number of students living off campus with nothing to eat. “We have Oppidans living in places not fit for students, we have Oppidans with no money to buy food. We can’t feed the brain but starve the body, that’s not right,” McCarthy said. This year there are about 170 students on the Pocket Money Fund, receiving R170.00 a month. For both Chengeta this is not enough. “Even though we raised a mind-blowing amount of money each year, there’s never enough to help all the students who need pocket money on the list. R170.00 a month is not enough, so the work that the Give5 committee does is far from being done,” she said.
There are between 20 and 30 students on the waiting list to receive assistance from the Pocket Money Fund, which is why the campaign runs all year long. Alumni donations, contributions from businesses in Grahamstown and support from the staff all contribute to the students’ efforts to increase the final amount raised in the course of the year.
One of the most high-profile events of the Give5 week is the Firewalk. Students and staff pay to walk across five metres of hot coals, the cost of which is donated to the campaign. For McCarthy the Firewalk is symbolic of the community of giving and helping at Rhodes University. “Would this happen at any other university? Would you have anyone walking over five metres of fire for another student? That doesn’t happen at other universities,” she said emphatically.
“It’s about being uncomfortable, putting yourself out there. It’s bringing awareness that there are students at Rhodes who feel like that, and it symbolises that you’re putting yourself in their shoes,” she added. One member of staff, Mandilakhe Kila has completed the Firewalk three times now. He feels that the symbolism of the walk is two-fold.“It’s a great initiative, we’re trying to help fellow students and it’s the first time I’ve come across such a campaign. It’s a personal thing as well. In life we face personal challenges and in order to overcome those challenges you must have a positive mindset. The firewalk is about tapping into positivitiy,” he said.
The campaign runs all year long so if you would like to help make a student’s life just a little bit easier, please donate to:
Account name: Rhodes University
Bank: First National Bank
Branch code: 210717
Account no.: 62145508894
Swift code: FIRNAZJJ
If you choose this option please use your Initial and Surname as the beneficiary reference and email firstname.lastname@example.org to alert them of the donation.
Please help us to raise funds so that we can give all our students a chance to access online teaching and learning. Covid-19 has disrupted our students' education. Don't let the digital divide put their future at risk. Visit www.ru.ac.za/rucoronavirusgateway to donate