It is now over 4 years since the death of my beloved daughter Caitlin. The Caitlin Fund has kept her name and her memory alive and the contributions received by friends and friends of friends have been used to make a real, positive and lasting difference to the lives of some young women and girls in South Africa.
Gumboots continues to administer the fund and all funds go directly to the young women. I am extremely grateful to Gumboots for their help and continued support. The work they do in South Africa continues to benefit many people and really does make a difference to both young and old.
The fund is now supporting 3 young women and having a real and positive effect on their lives. During a recent trip to South Africa I met all 3 young beneficiaries of the fund. Nomsa Mugwe is now employed by the Department of Social Services in Johannesburg and is no longer in receipt of funds. Kamvelihle Mkihze who is in her second last year at school has replaced her. The fund is helping with leadership courses, sports equipment and school trips. Kamvelihle is an exceptionally bright young woman and was selected by the deputy head at her school as she has potential to go on to university and make a contribution to society. She is not an orphan but comes from an impoverished family who are unable to make any contribution to her education.
It is with great pleasure that I am able to report that Vuyelwa (the initial Caitlin Fund recipient) is now at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, studying journalism, and is doing extremely well. She recently wrote that she has passed (brilliantly) all her assignments and course work and is halfway through the first year. Without the fund, university would just not have been possible. Although she has received a loan/bursary the fund pays all her travelling expenses to and from home (about 600 miles), books, toiletries, sports equipment and day-to-day living expenses. Ensuring that she is able to complete her 4-year degree the Fund will need to contribute about £2000 per annum. I am aware that the fund has this commitment for the next 3 years.
Zinhle Jabulile Kolle is now in her second year at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria, where she is happily studying Entertainment Technology, specialising in drama / theatre. We visited her at college and were impressed with her commitment and the obvious affection and regard from her tutors, fellow students and the head of the department
Zinhle was struggling to pay for her transport to and from university. We have agreed to pay her basic fees, transport, food and sundries for the year. She has over 2 further years of study to complete.
We are delighted to be able to help these lovely, promising young women who have worked so hard.
There are so many other young woman like Zinhle, Vuyelwa and Kamvelihle who are desperate to continue their studies, but do not have the means to do so. With your help, our aim is to assist these and a few others to reach their full potential
How will the beneficiaries for the fund be found?
Applicants will be referred from a number of sources in South Africa – friends, schools and other institutions. I hope that I and other supporters will forge links with some schools and that referrals will be made that way.
If it becomes clear that it is not possible to find enough suitable applicants in this way a school or institution could be approached and a competitive process could be opened up. Potential applicants would be expected to state their aspirations and why they would need funding.
All referrals will then be presented to me and the Gumboots Board and a decision will be taken.
I intend to research and identify further potential beneficiaries on regular trips to South Africa.
Is my money going to Gumboots or directly to girls’ education?
The Caitlin Fund and Gumboots are separate entities, Gumboots will simply administer the money in conjunction with me. As Gumboots is a registered charity in both the UK and South Africa, it made good sense to do it this way as this will also enable Gift Aid on donations made to the Caitlin Fund.
I can’t necessarily afford to fund ongoing school fees but I would like to contribute to buying uniforms, books and equipment. What is the breakdown of costs?
If you want to make a one-off donation it will be used to support ongoing costs for ensuring that the young women are able to continue their studies. Currently the Caitlin Fund pays taxi fares to and from the township for one of its recipients. This costs approximately £10.00 per week. A new school blazer costs approximately £25.00 and a uniform including sports equipment costs about £125.00.
If I want to sponsor a child through school, is it possible for me to communicate with her on some kind of regular basis?
That would be positively encouraged. I will find a way to make that happen. I am currently communicating with the first recipient of the fund and am hoping to spend time with her on trips to South Africa.
How can I get updates and feedback on how recipients of the Caitlin Fund are getting on?
Information on girls benefiting from the Caitlin Fund will be included in Gumboots Newsletters so please sign up here.
We also hope to start our own newsletter as the donors increase.
I would like to potentially offer an annual work experience placement for suitable beneficiaries of the Caitlin Fund. Who do I talk to about this?
I and other members of Gumboots are taking this idea forward. We hope that potential employers would consider a work placement once a university/college course has been completed. This would be a wonderful way of giving the young women wider experience and knowledge that would benefit them and their communities in the long term.
If you have any other questions, suggestions or thoughts please email: firstname.lastname@example.org