Our history attests to our success of supporting rural youth to become qualified healthcare workers

Over the years, the Friends of Mosvold Trust raised money for the Mosvold hospital to purchase vehicles, improve accommodation, provide fencing for residential clinics, develop an HIV/AIDS education programme, and to implement a large-scale sanitation programme.

In 1998, the Trust decided to establish a Scholarship Scheme in order to find a solution to the lack of qualified healthcare professionals in the district.

  • The Trust committed to providing at least four new student bursaries every year.
  • The Trust obtained an agreement with MESAB (Medical Education for South African Blacks) to contribute half of the university costs, which contributed to ⅓ of the total costs involved - this agreement ended in 2007 when MESAB closed.
  • The Trust initiated career guidance days, or “open days”, at hospitals within the district twice a year to expose school learners to career opportunities in the health science sector.

This move by the Trust was motivated by the belief that rural learners from the Umkhanyakude district had the potential to become trained healthcare workers, and would return to work in their home district after graduation. A comprehensive programme was set up at local hospitals and schools in order to promote careers in health science. The goal was also to inspire learners to study a health science qualification and to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

"We came to understand that due to the challenges rural youth faced at higher education institutions, in order for the approach to succeed, we not only needed to financially support our students, but we needed to mentor and support them throughout the course of their studies".

From inception in 1999 to 2008, the entire programme was managed by a small group of highly committed Trustees. In February 2008, a Director was appointed to develop and expand the programme. This resulted in three hospitals in the adjacent Zululand district being added in 2009, and an additional two hospitals in the King Cetshwayo district being added in 2010. During the course of 2010, the name was changed from the Friends of Mosvold Scholarship Scheme to the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation to reflect the fact that it was no longer an initiative of a single hospital.

The establishment of the programme in 1999 began with the support of only four students. Every year since then has been a leap of faith, as more eligible students applied and were accepted. To date, the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation has supported over 750 youth and produced 592 graduates covering 19 different health science disciplines. Significantly,  55% of our graduates are young women! The Foundation selected 42 new students in 2024 from 15 participating KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and is supporting a total of 210 students this year.

Data for the article "Contribution of a bonded scholarship scheme to staffing rural health facilities" is available here.