Rotarians’ degree of success

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A young African student has graduated from the University of Swaziland thanks to funding from The Allander Rotary Club.

In October Ntombencanen Bagezile Ndwandwe, or Ntombe as she is known,
received a Bachelor of Arts and Social Science in the presence of King Mswati 3rd.

For Ntombe (22) this was the culmination of nine years of study made possible by the Rotary Club of Allander. Because fees must be paid in Swaziland’s state schools after the age of fourteen, Ntombe would have had no access to further education without
financial help.

As is the case with many children in Swaziland, Ntombe was an orphan – her parents having died of Aids. She was being taken care of by her late grandmother’s sister.

Bearsden Rotarian Colin Robertson said: “The connection between Allander Rotary Club and the plight of Swaziland’s orphans came about when myself and my wife Helen were playing golf near Mbabane and we had local school-age children as caddies. When I asked why they were not at school, they said their parents could not afford the fees. After further investigation we discovered that the annual cost of the school fees per pupil would be in the region of £150.”

Horrified that these children were being denied an education for want of such a relatively small sum, Colin then enlisted the help of his fellow Rotarians and arranged to send sufficient funds for two students to a retired Bapist Church minister who was operating an educational trust.

Ntombe proved to be a very bright pupil and went through High School and ultimately to University to gain her degree.

With her new qualification, Ntombe has now been employed at a major international firm and is on a six month training programme which will hopefully lead to permanent employment.

Mr Robertson said: “Even a relatively small amount of financial assistance can do so much in third world countries, especially when it is applied directly to those in need and not diluted by the expenses of larger charities.”