Lesotho Telecommunications’ giant Vodacom Lesotho (VCL) unveiled the top 10 beneficiaries for its M2 million bursary fund program in Maseru this week.
The programme will see the student advance their dream of studying in some top South African universities.
VCL had earlier opened applications for bursaries for students who are willing study or who are already studying Mathematics, Science and finance-related courses as a way of contributing to the country’s technological stance in order to modernize Lesotho’s growing industries.
Addressing the media at the unveiling event, VCL Managing Director, Mohale Ralebitso reported that, the world is becoming more digital daily so it needs people who understand the technical world and the importance of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). He said that VCL is contributing to the development skills because Lesotho is being developed and it cannot be developed without these skills.
Ralebitso explained that industries have to make sure that the structure of Lesotho’s economy is not stuck in the primary culture of mines or textile industries but should ensure that there are other industry layers able to match what the global landscape is like in terms of global development. He added that, the companies cannot create jobs without anybody to accommodate those positions.
“Although these young people have no obligation of working with Vodacom after finishing their studies, they may go wherever they want to go and they will have the opportunity to come work for VCL so that we bridge the gap between theoretical learning and applicational budget in commerce. We are counting that amongst this first cohort, that those are the people who are going to put Lesotho at the right position.
“Our emphasis was on women and the disabled unfortunately none of our candidates today have any disabilities because it seemed we had to do more to ensure that we do not lose disabled people from the schooling system barrier,” said Ralebitso.
He pointed out that the recipients have nothing to worry about safe to put in the necessary hard-work in their studies as the bursaries that they have been awarded are full sponsorship covering every aspect of their learning, thus urging them to put-in the work and not be distracted in any way.
For her part, VCL Executive Head of Human Resources, Bonang Makhasane, said that VCL intends to be the best employer of women by 2025 hence initiatives such as this one geared towards feeding into their ambition of having more females in technology and critical management positions.
“We believe that we can only achieve those ambitions through these kind of programs where we expose girl children to the kind of education that instills the digital skills that we are looking for as an organization. To all Basotho youth, I would like you to take your education as an investment and also as a serious aspect of your life,” Makhasane said, adding that the bursary would be given out on an annual basis thus encouraging more of them to be on the lookout for it each June.
Meanwhile, Executive Head of Legal, Tšepo Ntaopane said that all the students have to do is to come with their luggage as everything will be taken care of by VCL from transport, accommodation, monthly allowances and tuition fees.
He pointed out that in the build-up to the announcement, they received over 1 000 bursary applications and out of those applicants only 10 Maureen Nwigwe, Nthatisi Sekonyela, Ts’ebetso Letlema, Monts’o Mokake, Khabo Pokothoane, Bokang Lepolesa, Lerato Sibane,Keneuoe Rasung, Matsoso Leseli and Thato Mobu made the cut.
One of the beneficiaries Nthatisi Sekonyela explained how she had struggled to secure a scholarship after passing her matric in 2020 hence she is grateful for the opportunity VCL gave her, adding that now she will realise her dream of becoming a financial analyst and possibly one day work for VCL.
Rethabile Khasu, a parent to one of the beneficiaries, expressed how grateful she was for the opportunity that VCL has granted her daughter and other beneficiaries, as she hoped that they will continue to make them, as their parents proud but working hard in their studies. She said she and all the other parents are truly indebted to VCL for what the company has done for them.