The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Education Trust had its coffers boosted by more than R4 million in donations and pledges at its annual fundraising event held at Denel’s Irene campus recently.
Funds raised for the Trust have, according to the SANDF website, ensured 76 dependents of members killed or seriously injured on active duty have been able to continue their educations at primary, secondary and even tertiary level.
The Trust is the brainchild of General Solly Shoke, the SANDF Chief. He saw it fit and good to find some way of providing an education for those left behind after 10 South African soldiers were killed in what has become known as the Battle for Bangui in 2013.
Shoke appointed Major General Roy Andersen, Chief of Defence Reserves, as chair of the Trust which in the current calendar year has allocated bursaries worth R1 171 560. The largest number of these is for primary school studies – 32 – with 21 secondary school scholars and 14 tertiary education students also continuing their studies thanks to the Education Trust.
This year’s Education Trust fundraiser was sponsored by Armscor, which has become a Trust partner.
“Through the SANDF Education Trust the service our men and women in uniform have so selflessly given to our people shall not be forgotten,” Armscor board chairman, retired vice admiral Johannes Mudimu said.
“This gathering provides a platform for the children of our heroes and heroines one day to swell the ranks of our armed forces, particularly as scientists, doctors and strategists,” he said.
An example of what the Trust does was given by Andersen who related what he had told an SA Irish Regiment soldier who lost both hands during an ambush in Sudan.
“When I went to see him in hospital he explained his wife had no civilian work and his injuries would prevent him for getting work. I told him not to worry we would educate his children. This is just one example of supporting our troops when they deploy and the turnout at this fundraiser demonstrates there is sensitivity towards the needs of our soldiers.”
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