A group of university graduates are taking advantage of the festive season’s spirit of goodwill to try to raise funds for needy students.

Clad in their graduation gowns, the graduates are taking to various major intersections in and around Pretoria asking for cash donations from passing motorists.

The #ThusaNgwaneGeno loosely translated meaning “help your brethren” is an initiative aiming to raise at least R100 000 by the end of this month which will be used to assist first year students with registration fees.

After a successful fundraising drive last weekend they decided to dedicate all their Saturdays this month to raising funds for needy students. The initiative driven by the funding crisis in the higher education sector has already assisted seven students with registration fees this year.

John Molepo from the Youth Empowerment Organization (YEO) says they targeted the month of December because of the generosity of people during this time of the year. He says the graduates felt compelled to volunteer due to their personal experiences.

“Most people during this time of the year they at least have some bonuses. Maybe the can be able to assist. But I’m impressed and I must give thanks to all taxi drivers out there, they are the ones who contributed a lot. Last week I saw a taxi driver giving us a R200 note. To me that says it’s a blessing they want to see every child being satisfied being able to go school.”

A University of Pretoria graduate, Kutlwano Mojela, was among the volunteers. This initiative is closer to her heart as she went through the hardships of not having funds to register. Her parents ended up taking out a loan to make her dream of attaining education a possibility.

“When I was a student at TUKS I couldn’t register because I didn’t have the finances so I had to get a loan, even though it was a loan I had to pay it back the same time, so that was hard on my parents. So I feel like an initiative like this is very important so that at least if you’re one step closer, if you can pay registration then the rest somehow will work out for you.”

Tshegofatso Ramasodi is one of the seven beneficiaries of the initiative in 2017. The second year mechanical engineering student from Soshanguve was forced to take a gap year after failing to raise registration money.

He’s now gearing up to completing his studies. He hopes the initiative can reach out to as many people possible.

“I’m hoping that we can get sponsors so they can get involved in this stuff. It is a good thing because black people are struggling. I’m hoping more people can get involved in this initiative because there other children out there who are hoping to go to school but they can’t because of lack of funds.”

More than 50 first year students in 2018 are expected to benefit from the initiative should the target be met.