Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation donates self-care packs to unfunded UFH students

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Having a deep understanding of the plight of unfunded students, the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation (UMF) and the University of Fort Hare’s Student Counselling Unit (SCU) donated self-care packs to hundreds of UFH first-year students who are unfunded.

The packs were handed over last Friday by Ms Noma Mrwetyana –Uyinene’s mother and founding director of UMF.

The foundation was established in celebration of the life of Uyinene, a 19-year-old University of Cape Town first-year student who was raped and murdered in 2019. Her murder highlighted the broader national problem of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa

Ms Thobeka Msengana who is the UFH SCU Manager, and an advisory board member of the foundation said, this kind gesture stems from a pledge between the Unit and the Foundation to work together to stamp out GBV.

“We formerly signed a memorandum of understanding last year where we agreed to place our interns at the Foundation where they can gain experience and also lend psychological support and assist with campaigns against GBV, especially in rural areas and also give career guidance. The handover is a direct result of that MOU, which intends to curb or even prevent incidents of GBV using a holistic approach.”

“Knowing the negative impact of not having basic things such sanitary towels or soap can have on the confidence and mental well-being of a student, we decided to give them these packs to remind them that there is support and we do care,” said Msengana.

Giving a message of support, Ms Mrwetyana said: “One of the first things we did after Uyinene was enrolled and checked into varsity, was to buy her toiletries. I felt it was very important to hand over these packs because many students come from rural and disadvantaged backgrounds and do not have the privilege of affording toiletries. These self-care packs are coming from the bottom of our hearts because UFH has been very supportive to us.

The Foundation has also developed relations with Dr Rianna Oelofsen from the UHF GBV Prevention Unit after she formed part of a panelist in one of the Foundation’s recent events.

Conveying a message of gratitude on behalf of UFH students, SRC President, Ms Siphokazi Mbalo said the packs meant a lot to the students. “Such initiatives truly boost the confidence of our students because when you feel good, you do good.”

Dr Oelofsen thanked the Foundation for restoring the students’ dignity with these care packs. “You are making a real difference in the students’ lives and for that, we are very grateful.”