LERATO Maboya will soon realise her dream of becoming a lawyer, thanks to a programme that sponsors the education of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Maboya, 21, is a graduate of the Student Sponsorship Programme (SSP), that was introduced in Gauteng and Eastern Cape nearly 10 years ago.
Since its inception SSP has sponsored more than 200 children from various primary schools in the two provinces and enrolled them at prestigious high schools.
A third-year law student at Wits University, Maboya matriculated from Parktown High School for Girls in Johannesburg in 2006.
Maboya said her dream would have remained just that were it not for SSP.
"All I had ever wanted since I was a child was to go to an all-girls private school, but I knew it would not be possible because of my parents' financial situation," said Maboya.
She was encouraged to apply for SSP sponsorship by a teacher at primary school because she was one of the top 10 pupils and showed leadership qualities.
While in high school, SSP also paired her with a successful professional as a mentor to help her choose subjects that guided her towards her career choice.
"My mentor helped me to realise that I needed to choose subjects and activities that were not only fun, but those I could draw valuable skills from."
l SSP project manager Bheki Masango said the programme assists children of households that earn less than R200000 a year.
l Parents and pupils can obtain application forms from primary schools in Gauteng and Eastern Cape.
l A nine-month bridging programme for children in Grade 6 is available in Gauteng.
l Applications for the programme have closed for Eastern Cape schools. Gauteng pupils have until November 14 to apply.