Following the success of last year’s Back2Varsity campaign, Menlyn Park Shopping Centre and Tuks FM have again joined forces to continue their support of students of the University of Pretoria. In 2018, the partnership was able to provide approximately 170 students with meals for six months.

Research conducted by the Higher Education Department estimates that about 216,000 students in South Africa are without suitable accommodation, and almost 400,000 beds are needed to meet its enrolment targets for 2030. This has resulted in thousands of squatting tertiary students needing urgent support.

“For this reason, in 2019 the Back2Varsity campaign will continue to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing them with necessities such as canned foods, stationery, toiletries and blankets amongst other things which will remain accessible to them throughout the year,” explains Olive Ndebele, General Manager at Menlyn Park Shopping Centre. “We recognise the need to support students. For this reason, we will continue working with Tuks FM to ensure both the shopping centre and its retailers are able to help them reach their academic goals.”

Menlyn Park Shopping Centre has set up collection boxes at their Starbucks Court, Ground Floor. These collection points are linked to customer purchases aimed at encouraging the Pretoria community and corporates to donate to students at the University of Pretoria from 28 January – 15 February 2019. Some retailers will match the donations made by customers, while others are encouraging customer support by linking their donations to Back2School prices.

“It is without a doubt that the donations received last year brought change to the students’ lives by ensuring that they had meals to sustain them during the day and enabled them to succeed in their studies. Hunger is an obstacle which we need to remove to ensure that students are not compromised in terms of attaining academic success,” said Dr Matete Madiba, Director: Student Affairs at the University of Pretoria.

Leanne Kunz, Station Manager of Tuks FM, says the radio station is only too happy to again be involved with an initiative as necessary and valuable as this one. “Many students are battling to keep their heads above water with the high costs involved with getting an education. The last thing they need is to also have to worry about where they’re going to get their next meal, or how they’re going to afford stationery or basic things they need to get them through the day. We were so encouraged by the success of last year’s event, and we’re determined to make Back2Varsity 2019 even more successful!”