Puleng Molebatsi has had a difficult life but believes a better future is ahead of her after she received a bursary from the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
Molebatsi had to take on adult responsibilities after she lost her parents when she was just 14, leaving her to run the household.
“From the age of 14 I had to cook, clean, do laundry and worry about electricity bills and food. It wasn’t easy but we survived due to the help of my teachers and community.”
Molebatsi lost her mother first, then her grandmother and aunt, leaving her to struggle to make ends meet as a teenager. She also had to raise two younger brothers and a cousin and has always dreamt of the day that she would be able to provide for her family.
Thanks to a student loan and hard work Molebatsi completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Arts degree at Wits University but despite her qualification she struggled to find a job and support her family.
She recently wrote to the NYDA requesting sponsorship for an English short course which would enable her to teach English to foreigners in South Africa or abroad.
Molebatsi was awarded a bursary from the NYDA to study teaching, majoring in English.
“I feel optimistic about my future again as I know there is a need for English language teachers in South Africa and abroad. I will do the NYDA proud for investing in my future and believing in me by working extra hard at finding a job before I complete my course,” she said.
Molebatsi, of Thabanchu in the Free State, is one of the beneficiaries of the Thusano Fund, which has been allocated R2 million from the agency’s annual budget.
Launched in April this year, the Thusano Fund is aimed at helping young people like Molebatsi, who approach the NYDA on a daily basis looking for financial help.
The fund grants a maximum of R50 000 per student.
NYDA Executive Chairperson Yershen Pillay said Molebatsi’s story was inspirational.
“I am deeply moved by Molebatsi’s story of determination despite all the hardships she has faced together with her family. She is a perfect example of how the NYDA is making a tangible difference in the lives of young people every day,” he said.