The Friends of Mosvold (FOM) Trust was established in 1995 to facilitate health development in the Umkhanyakude District. Over the years the Trust raised money for the Mosvold Hospital to purchase vehicles, improve accommodation, provide fencing for residential clinics, development of an HIV/Aids education programme, and implementation of a large scale sanitation programme.
In 1998, based on the need to find a solution to the longterm problem of lack of professional staff at the hospitals in the district, and the belief that people from the area – in spite of many financial, social and educational obstacles – have the potential to become health professionals, the Trust decided to establish a Scholarship Scheme.
This move by the Trust was fundamentally motivated by the belief that rural learners from Umkhanyakude have the potential to become health care professionals and will return to work in the district which is their 'home' community. A comprehensive programme was set up at the hospitals and in local schools to promote careers in health sciences, to inspire learners to dream about what seemed impossible, and to raise awareness about HIV and Aids. It was realised that for the approach to succeed however, there was a need to not only fund students accepted at university to study health science courses, but also to mentor and support them whilst studying, and to help integrate graduates into the hospitals in the district.
Up until 2008, the entire Scheme was managed by a small group of highly committed Trustees. In February 2008, a Director was employed to develop the scheme further. In 2009, the Scheme was expanded to 3 hospitals in the adjacent district and in 2010 expanded to 2 more hospitals. In March 2010, to coincide with the spread of the scheme to other districts, the name was changed from the Friends of Mosvold Scholarship Scheme.
The Scheme started in 1999 with the support of 4 students. Each year was a step of faith, as more eligible students applied and were accepted, funds have been raised to support them. To date the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation has produced 336 graduates covering 16 different health science disciplines and is supporting over a 250 students annually.