Sikho Stungu finished her studies with flying colors despite the challenges she faced. Sikho attributes her success to the support she received from her mentor who motivated her to overcome her challenges and excel academically

Here is Sikho’s story on her inspirational journey in the Tertiary Support mentorship programme

The Tertiary Support mentorship programme promotes academic excellence, fosters leadership and empowers students. Students who join the mentorship programme are matched with professional mentors who support them with their academic, career and personal goals. The mentors encourage the students towards positive action and decision making. Sikho Stungu is one of our students who benefited greatly from the mentoring programme.

Sikho’s long history with SAEP started in 2012 when she was part of our Bridging Year (BY) programme. In 2013 when she enrolled for a Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Western Cape she was accepted into our Tertiary Support (TS) programme. We were incredibly proud of how far she had come when she completed her degree in 2016! Sikho is passionate about numbers, loves challenges and sees herself as a problem solver.

But Sikho’s path to success has been far from easy…

Sikho lives in a three-room shack in Nyanga with 5 other people, including her uncle who suffers from depression and can cause great disturbances within the family. This made studying at home very difficult. She also faced transport problems and struggled to access academic resources after class.

Through the TS programme, Sikho was matched with a mentor whom she was able to turn to for academic, career and personal support. Sikho speaks highly of the TS programme and of how having a mentor impacted her throughout her university years. Sikho’s highlights how her mentor always encouraged her to talk about her challenges, to reach out for help, to face her fears, to read and to keep up to date with issues that affect our country. The two have formed a close bond.

We have this strong bond no one can break. She is my pillar of strength she supports, motivates and guides me in everything I do; one of the first people I call when I am experiencing problems”

Sikho is grateful for the positive impact this mentorship relationship has had on her life, including paying for the costs of her driving lessons and the network opportunities she has been able to access. It is a relationship that will continue into the next phase of her life as she enters the working world and pursues further studies.

Sikho has been inspired to be a mentor to someone else one day. She is looking forward to becoming a professional nurse as she awaits to be placed in her community service, and she hopes to play a similar role in someone’s life in the coming years.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for SAEP’s Tertiary Support Programme, Please contact Bella Ramos at bella@saep.org