University graduates, volunteering at the Youth Empowerment Organisation (YEO) will this week be on different streets, in various cities including Pretoria and Polokwane, begging for donations from motorists in a bid to support to indigent young people who cannot afford tertiary education.

“Volunteers, who are graduates, will once more this year be seen wearing their academic gowns at different locations across the country. An invitation is extended to all graduates who wish to volunteer and join YEO at the Eskia Mphalele Robots in Pretoria, Polokwane, Potchefstroom and the CBD in Rustenburg, all on Friday and Saturday respectively from 5am to 11am to request donations from motorists,” said Dr John Molepo, YEO founder.

“The funds raised on both days will be deposited into the organisations account to assist prospective students for the 2020 academic year and also those who wish to start their own businesses.”

YEO’s flagship initiative is the  “#ThusaNgwanaGeno“ campaign which is translated as “Help your sister/brother”. The initiative is geared at aiding prospective students that are accepted at any South African institution of higher learning with registration fees. 

“Its main aim is to assist at least over 200 students each year. Since the establishment, the organisation managed to assist over 300 students with tuition and registration fees. In addition to fees, students will also be helped with their stationery needs as they begin their academic journey. Regular workshops will also be provided to ensure that students receive continued support and encouragement in order for them to stay motivated to succeed,” said Molepo.

Earlier this month, Molepo’s efforts to get underprivileged students registered at university and paying for their tuition fees were recognised by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The 29-year-old activist and university lecturer from Soshanguve, in Pretoria, was given the Presidential Award in the category of Compassion “for the immense value of his contribution to the community through his #ThusaNgwanaGeno campaign”.

The awards recognise people for their leadership skills and bravery, among other things.

Molepo received a letter from the Presidency reading: “Presidency recognises the immense value of your contribution to your community throughout the establishment of #ThusaNgwanaGeno youth empowerment which aims to provide registration fees to underprivileged students.

“We commend your focus on skill-building and wish you the best with your journey.”

Molepo will receive an award certificate, a shirt, as well as exclusive inclusion into the Presidential Family during a ceremony next month.

Molepo, who recently got his PhD in public affairs conferred on him by the Tshwane University of Technology, has raised more than R300,000 for disadvantaged students through the initiative, which he started in 2017.

– ANA, editing by Devereaux Morkel