How a thin, hungry and penniless young man overcame all obstacles to obtain an UCT engineering degree

How a thin, hungry and penniless young man overcame all obstacles to obtain an UCT engineering degree

- After losing his mom, Nkululeko Dlamini had nothing but the bag on his back to carry what was left of his belongings

- He had nowhere to go, no food to eat and no money for a higher education

- But, through UCT's engineering faculty's "distress fund", Dlamini managed to turn his life around and obtain a degree

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Nkululeko Dlamini had a rough start in life, he had to attend a poorly resourced school and just when he wanted to enrol in university, his mom passed away.

However, his life turned around when he was discovered sleeping in an engineering lab – thin, hungry and penniless with all his belongings fitting into a small backpack, IOL reported.

Fast forward a few years, and Dlamini is a third year engineering student at the University of Cape Town (UCT), with career prospects that are brighter than ever.

This was possible with the help of his academic mentor Ernesto Ismail, as well as the Faculty of Engineering's "distress fund".

After Dlamini, who was raised in Joburg, hit rock bottom, the Distress Fund came to his rescue, which helped him overcome all his personal obstacles.

Now, he even has a job at a national state-owned energy utility, and he owes it all to the aid he received at UCT.

"Today I am the person I am because the Faculty believed in me. This is the beginning of my career and I will grab the opportunity with both hands and ensure that I will continue developing myself to become one of the greatest leaders in the country,” Dlamini said.

And, Dlamini is not the only one who received help from the EBE fund. Briefly.co.za gathered 76 engineering students reveiced aid, totalling R383 000.

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According to faculty marketing and communications manager Maryn Hilton, the fund helps students in different ways.

“With the poor economic climate, the changes in the criteria for NSFAS funding and family circumstances that change, there are a number of EBE students who find themselves with no money for food, accommodation, or just basic necessities.”, Hilton said.

She added the money was used to help cover outstanding fees, as well as to purchase of laptops, stationery, books, transport, rent and vouchers for toiletries, medicine and food.

The dean of EBE, Prof. Alison Lewis, said the amount of money used was not that much, but it did help them aid cases, who would otherwise have failed.

The fund began in 2015, where the faculty's student council managed to raise R6600. Since then it receives the majority of its funding from alumni, friends and staff.

A donation from industry and R100 000 from the Vice-Chancellor’s Challenge Fund also contributed to the success of EBE.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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