Reflecting on the past
At the end of this month of June 2019, we commemorate Prof Russel Botman who passed away five years ago. This constitutes a full term of office as far as academic positions go. It is therefore customary to do some reflection on the term. Some of the questions we ask ourselves are: What have we achieved? What remains to be done? What could we have done differently?
Starting up the fund
As the Russel Botman Bursary Fund, we have created a platform for gaining funding to grant deserving and talented students that would otherwise be economically excluded, a chance to be educated. He started on this path on 18 October 2013 by establishing the bursary fund on the celebration of his sixtieth birthday. In partnership with Stellenbosch University, he formally established the Russel Botman Bursary Fund by constituting the First Committee and drafting the regulations for applications.
RBBF goes online
Our greatest achievement was granting our first bursary and being able to repeat it every year since (as reflected on the RBBF website). We took the RBBF into a higher gear when we went online: the website and social media platforms were launched in 2016, on the fifth anniversary of the creation of the fund making it easy to use and find. Prof Botman made sure to firmly cement the vision of hope in university policy and we are therefore proud that the RBBF grants bursaries to those who would not otherwise also be granted bursaries by the university or other funders. To qualify for a RBBF bursary, applicants must demonstrate alignment to the vision and values of Prof Botman – qualifiers that are potentially not applicable to all other funds. We expect only the best from our recipients and are proud of their achievements thus far. We also expect of them to stay part of the RBBF community by becoming donors when they are of means, however, this is still something that remains to be cemented in the practices of our recipients.
What would we have done differently?
What would we have done differently? We would have worked much harder at fundraising, for one thing. Without funding, we cannot grant bursaries, we cannot grant opportunities to the youth. Prof Botman passed away during youth month, a fact that could not have been a greater driver for growing the RBBF.
Join those who have already taken up the challenge Prof Botman has put to us in 2013. Get involved. Donate today.