Consortium donates nearly R600,000 to help pay fees and fight covid

Women-led firm energises arts students

Image: Leon Swart/123rf.com

An energy consortium led by black women has donated over half a million rand to help pay fees for a group of National School of the Arts pupils who are facing financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 national lockdown.

This is after a number of parents were unable to pay the required school fees as they had either lost their jobs or were no longer earning the same salaries prior to the lockdown.

When Linda Mabhena-Olagunju, a former drama pupil, saw that the Johannesburg school was struggling financially she spoke to her business partners to assist.

DLO Energy Resources Group, the company she co-founded with other women, together with its partners iThokazi, Sula Energy and China Longyuan Power Group, donated nearly R600,000 to help pay the fees of the struggling students. The money will also be used to help reduce the school’s energy costs and assist with hygiene measures in the fight against Covid-19.

Mabhena-Olugunju, who is also DLO's managing director, told Sowetan  she was a drama student at the school in 2002.

“I felt it necessary to assist the institution that fostered part of the foundation of my success in business. The school was facing closure and I spoke to my partners to step in. A lot of students could not afford to pay school fees and I asked my partners to support so that we could sponsor at least 30 students with full scholarship, including hostel fees.”

iThokazi director Sakhu Dumakude said they felt it was important to support black students to enhance their academic and technical skills.

Brenda Sakellarides, the school’s artistic director, said the donation would benefit about 12 pupils who were struggling to pay their school fees.

“All our pupils deserve to be at the school and the money will also pay additional teachers and arts programmes. This was godsent as we could see the desperation from parents who were trying to stretch their budgets,” Sakellarides said.

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