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An estimated 10% of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) 30,000 students go without regular meals, the university said on Monday.
An event was held at the UFS at the weekend to raise funds for a food bursary which would help students have a daily balanced meal, said spokeswoman Lacea Loader.
“These students do not ask [for] red meat; just something to be able to study,” UFS Rector Jonathan Jansen said at the fundraiser for the No Student Hungry campaign (NSH).
He donated R100,000 — the royalties from sales of his book “We need to talk”.
Jansen said the students who were helped often had strong academic records, but not enough money to sustain themselves with a regular meal.
Loader said needy students normally did not have much cash left over from their bursaries or sponsorships for basics such as food.
She said the NSH was established in January 2011 and now funded about 100 students. It was hoped even more could be helped as support for the project grew.
The first 100 students awarded the food bursary started using their student cards for daily meals on campus on April 1 2011.
Loader said students had to apply for the NSH bursary and were selected on the basis of their financial needs, academic results, active participation in student life programmes, and commitment to give back to the community.
She said at the end of the year the process would be reviewed and students who still qualified would be re-instated on the programme.