Stories of Hope is a collection of treasured messages from our scholars, their parents, and all MAD supporters.

A Message from James

BA Theatre and Performance Graduate

I entered university four years ago uncertain of what my experience would be like, uncertain of my identity and often just going with the flow as it unfolded in front of me. I graduated today with a far greater sense of which people I want to surround myself with, a vibrant sense of self-worth, and an understanding of the power I hold within my being. This experience has shaped me and my view of the world in ways I could never have imagined. There’s an incredible sense of clarity that I’ve gained which allows me to see things through a lens others aren’t able to, and now I can look at my reflection with tears in my eyes and confidently say, “I am proud of myself and the work that I’ve put in”.

I may not know what the future holds, nor know where I’m going, but I know that where I am is where I belong, and I will bring pride to those who love me throughout my life as I have today.

A Message from Judith

B. Agric Graduate
Judith - Stories of Hope

“With this message, I wish to thank MAD for all the help and support I have received from you. Not just financial, but also emotional and academic support too! I could not believe my luck when I was awarded this scholarship, and with the help of MAD, hard work and perseverance I was able to obtain my degree. I could never have guessed the turns my journey would take, from being the Vice Prim of our SRC on campus to having a baby in my final year. With the support from MAD, I still managed to obtain distinctions and got recruited by the company I’ve always dreamt of working for. Thank you to the MAD team and one of my biggest support systems, my coordinator and a really wonderful friend, Jordynne.”

A Message from Aspen

BA Humanities Graduate
stories of hope

“I really just want to say a big thank you to MAD Leadership Foundation. I am so appreciative of everything MAD has done for me over the past 9 years. MAD definitely takes up a huge space in my heart and always will. I wouldn’t have had such peace of mind, good guidance and support throughout the years without this amazing family. The positive impact MAD has on my life is immense. I could go on and on about all the amazing memories, every single thing MAD has helped me achieve and has done for me but then I’ll have to write a whole thesis. So for now I’ll just have to say thank you!

My mom wrote a poem addressed to MAD that I will attach below.

Additionally, I just also wanted to inform you that I was accepted to do my Psychology Honours at Stellenbosch University. So just another big thank you to MAD as I wouldn’t have gotten this far without all of you!”

A Message and Poem from Aspen’s Mom

Dear MAD Leadership Foundation,

Thank you for giving my daughter, Aspen, the wonderful opportunity to obtain her matric and her undergraduate degree. You were like a co-parent and gave me peace of mind. We will forever be grateful to you. I always enjoyed our end of year celebration functions, where I met the other parents. One of my fondest memories was all of us participating in the gumboot dance lesson many years ago.

Please find below a poem of my gratitude.

Nishaat Story

A Message From Nishaat

BSC (Physiotherapy) Graduate

“I cannot thank you enough or fully express my gratitude for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. Thank you for your invaluable support and contributions towards my journey of becoming a physiotherapist. I could not have done this without all of MAD’s support. Thank you to every single one of my coordinators I’ve had along the way; listening to my rants and being there when I’m on stress level 1000. We did it!”

Stories of Hope

A Message From Jamie

BCom Hons (Management Accounting) Graduate

“I have finally received my BCom Hons in Management Accounting degree. Upon opening the envelope, my heart swelled with joy and my eyes with tears. I MADE IT. I had reached one of my main goals and within the allocated time frame too. Being 22 with two degrees to my name is something I am extremely proud of. Simply for the fact that there were so many times that I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Therefore, I would like to thank Make a Difference Leadership Foundation, their sponsors and staff (old and new). MAD has changed my life and made it possible for me to reach the heights that I have thus far, and I couldn’t be more excited for my journey ahead. MAD has instilled within me many values and knowledge that so many others are not even close to experiencing, and I’m grateful for that because it has contributed to the type of person I am today. The staff always supported me, listened without judgment and gave the best advice, and they truly care about their scholars, and I have been blessed to be part of it.”

Stories of Hope

A Message From Lwazi

MBChB Graduate

“I joined the MAD Leadership Foundation during my matric year in 2014. I can still remember so vividly what a relief it was to finally receive a scholarship for my studies. Finally, my dreams of studying medicine or just being in University and furthering my studies were becoming a reality. As a first-generation student, this meant a great deal to me.

When I received that successful application email from MAD, I never imagined what an amazing journey would await me. By joining MAD, my worldviews immediately changed. My personal development became exponential. I was afforded opportunities beyond the scope of what the average scholarship offers. Annually, I attended leadership summits where I met incredible people from all walks of life who challenged my worldviews and inspired me to grow as a person and a leader.

During my studies, I was allocated to a mentor who assisted me to set and achieve my personal development goals. In addition to this, I also had my own personal coordinator, who attended to my needs and provided the necessary support to ensure that I succeeded in my studies.

When I joined MAD, all I ever dreamt of was being a medical doctor, a skilled and knowledgeable clinician who would provide the best possible health care services and assist people in need. The journey with MAD has inspired me to dream bigger than that, to strive to be a change agent, a leader, and an advocate for those who are marginalised in society.”