When Lindile Khumalo graduated with a Bachelor of Technology degree this week, it was with both pride in her achievement, and gratitude that she was one of the lucky ones to be a recipient of the Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund.
Cell C Foundation’s managing executive, Suzette van der Merwe and Tomorrow Trust’s Lorena El-Lakkis (they find eligible young women and monitor their progress) could not be more delighted.
Said Suzette van der Merwe: “This is a very special milestone for Lindile, and for us at Cell C. We see the offering of bursaries complementary to our Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® initiative and as a long term, sustainable investment that empowers women. The development and empowerment of young women is at the heart of Cell C’s corporate structure and corporate social investment initiatives.”She added that education “remains one of the most important means of achieving gender equity as it empowers women with knowledge, skills, self-confidence and social and economic status. These qualities enable women to participate meaningfully in our economy.”
The Tomorrow Trust’s Lorena El-Lakkis said: “Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty by creating independent, well-rounded and self-sustainable graduates and it is through this that our partnership with Cell C was founded. Like the Cell C Foundation, we believe that the empowerment of women begins with education and we are delighted to assist to manage the Cell C Girl Child Bursary Fund by supporting 30 young, dynamic women to achieve their dreams.”
Lindile grew up in the township Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
“I was fortunate to be raised by both my parents and I have four siblings: two brothers and two sisters. Growing up, I was really inspired by my brother who studied Law; he’s the one who ignited new dreams in me,” she said.
After matric Lindile studied Electrical Engineering at Tshwane South College, and obtained an N6 .But, she said, she was “just not happy in the field because I kept applying for jobs – unsuccessfully.
“After a gap year I registered to study for a Diploma in IT at Tshwane University of Technology. “It was during her first year that Lindile ran into trouble. “I didn’t have money to pay for my fees and my mother took out a loan to pay for the first semester. The following semester, I managed to get a loan, and by then I was doing pretty well in my studies. In my second year I was contacted by the Tomorrow Trust and after being interviewed and accepted into the programme, I realized that my life would never be the same again.
“My dreams became a reality and that is where I drew my strength to keep working hard, all because of the workshops and the motivational emails that the Tomorrow Trust sent to us. Today I am a strong woman and managed to do both my National Diploma and BTech in record time. And, I am debt free because of Cell C and the empowerment from the Tomorrow Trust Family.”
While she waits to hear whether her application to do her Masters Degree in IT (Wireless Security) Lindile is working as a lecturer’s assistant.
She says her advice to young women is that “They have to remember that their future is not defined by their past. Regardless of where you come from, you can still have a better future – if you believe in yourself.”
She is already looking ahead to the future where she sees herself working as a senior network engineer, having earned her masters degree.