Since graduating from the University of Free State with a Bachelor in Education last year, Deben community’s Neo Maibiri, is on track to earn his B.Ed Honours Degree specialising in Management and Governance. With a passion for giving back and setting an example for the youth, he plans to plough his skills back into his hometown, where he will be able to help others. 

“I have always enjoyed learning new things, and since attending school is one of my life’s highlights, entering the field of education seems like the natural choice for me. As someone who is passionate about helping others, I believe pursuing a career in education will allow me to do that,” he said.

During his first four years of study, Neo was supported by the REISA Scholarship Fund – a programme which provides tertiary education funding for youth living within a 50km radius of the solar facility, encompassing Kathu, Olifantshoek, Dibeng, Siyathemba, Babatas and Mapoteng.  The focus is to contribute towards human resource development in fields considered critical for the South African economy. Study fields include Teaching, Engineering, Natural and Social Sciences, Environment and Nursing,

“The bursary has been of great help, and I am extremely grateful for it. My mom is a domestic worker, so she wasn’t able to pay for me to further my studies. Receiving the bursary has greatly reduced the financial burden on my family.  Plus, it’s not just a financial aid, but it’s a huge factor in ensuring my success in the future,” added Neo.

Neo envisions himself working at a district office in the future, while completing his master’s degree.  He has a longer-term goal – to one day work in parliament as an official within the Department of Education.

“Learners from local high schools have limited opportunities to access scholarships, hence this fund specifically targets learners in these beneficiary towns to ensure that the opportunities are afforded to locals and that they do not have to compete against learners from other provinces,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for REISA Solar, which funds this programme as part of its socio-economic development initiative.

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