I am Onela, aged 20 and I live in a shack in the Imizamo Yethu township in Hout Bay outside Cape Town in South Africa.
I am just completing my first year studying Drama, Musical Theatre & Dance at the prestigious Waterfront Theatre College.
I am so proud to have been accepted at this college and am a very grateful bursary beneficiary which covers all the college fees for 4 years of full time study.
As it is a private college I am unable to get governmental financial support for living expenses.
The truth is that, yes, I do have parents, but I have parents who have never cared about me. They are very poor and just not interested or supportive. I have brought myself up since I was little, my parents never looked at school reports, or came to see me perform and my sister and were dependant on food that my dad would occasionally drop off so most of the time we relied on school feeding programmes. There is no knowing how long I can stay in the shack where I am living at the moment.
I have always chosen to be a good student. I joined the Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation non-profit shortly after they started in 2015, found my love and passion and talent for the arts, and through becoming a more confident communicator got selected to spend a year in Germany working with elderly with disabilities. On my return Amoyo put me forward to study.
I am so proud of who I am, I work hard, my first year reports reflect my dedication and work ethic but I can't lie. Every day is a struggle. I live in a shack that leaks, we often don't have electricity, it is hard for me to study, public transport is often unreliable to get to college, the township is rife with negativity, gangs, violence, drug and alcohol addicts and I am desperate to be able to give my full attention to my studies. I am so tired of not knowing my fate one day to the next.
I am unable to work part time because of where I live, I can't use public transport at night to get home so it is even harder to help myself.
I would be so grateful please to get the financial support needed to live in student accommodation in Cape Town, close to college, where I can then also help myself with having weekend and holiday work, knowing i will be able to contribute to my education and start to build my life.
I have a voice and stories to tell, to share with the world and to help others who have the same struggles. I would like to continue in the arts after college on stage and screen performing, writing and directing and look forward to giving back to my community and being a inspirational role model at Amoyo where this journey started.
I would like to offer insight into my studies and share my success with all those who support me or if there is any other way I can show my appreciation then please let me know. I am willing to send all receipts to show proof of utilisation of funds.
Please contact Kim Worrall, the founder and CEO of Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation (non-profit) or the Waterfront Theatre School, Cape Town for any further references you would like.
Student Accommodation including wifi, electricity, water and meals = R6000 per month ($410 per month)
Study material & personal expenses = R1000 a month ($70)
Thank you for reading my story and thank you for all support shown.
This reality is not easy to share publicly but this is my story and it has made me who I am today -I would just really like to continue studying and uplift myself out of poverty.
Yours in appreciation