The students from Wits and the University of Johannesburg took on the walk to raise funds for students who could not afford university fees.
The movement initiated by students…for students started with one of the students, recognising the plight of fellow students, struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet. Often students will not have conducive living arrangements, can’t afford decent meals and would often tackle a full academic day without breakfast.
Many don’t have any local family support and has continuous stress about covering academic and personal expenses.
“Imagine the kind of perseverance required to complete your studies, under such conditions? Often, very competent students then don’t return for their next academic year, due to lack of funds.”
Compelled to try and do something about this situation, StudyTrust, a bursary organisation, was approached with the idea to embark on a challenging walk in order to raise bursary funding. StudyTrust made current bursary beneficiaries aware of this idea, and received an overwhelming response with 134 students signing up, wanting to plough back and make a difference to the lives of future students.
The final group consists of 15 students that took on the 1000km walk.
They started the trip from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth on 1 December and reached their destination just days before Christmas Day.
On the 19 December at around 13:00 Reuben Oosthuizen led the Feet4Fees walkers into Nelson Mandela University.
One after the other they shared their experiences and what they learnt from the adventure. The most common conviction that was distilled through 19 days of walking in the scorching sun, over hills and through valleys, was:
“Together we can do it!”
All proceeds generated through the project go directly to the national bursary organisation Study Trust.
Feet4Fees member Thabo Thulare said: “It’s a national bursary administrator which means wherever you are in South Africa, you are able to access the money as long as you can apply and meet the requirements that study trust will set forward.”
The students found that truck drivers were amongst the friendliest along the route.
“We have come to realise that truck drivers are the friendliest people on the road. The cheering we get from them is what keeps us going. Some even stopped in front of us, they applauded us and then donated R40 towards the cause. We are highly grateful for that. It isn’t about how much they donate, but it is that they have recognised our cause. It really is a great feeling.”
They have urged South Africans to continue donating to the cause. To help with the cause, click here.