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 due to the internal changes of the MESAB itself.
  • The Trust initiated career guidance days, or “open days”, at hospitals within the district twice a year to expose school leavers 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 the district, with it being their home community. 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 give back and to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

We came to understand that, in order for the approach to succeed, we not only needed to fund our accepted students, but we needed to mentor and support them throughout the course of their studies.

Up until 2008, the entire programme was managed by a small group of highly committed Trustees. In February of 2008, a Director was appointed to develop and improve the programme, which expanded to three hospitals in the adjacent district in 2009, and an additional two hospitals in 2010. During the course of 2010, our name was changed from the Friends of Mosvold Scholarship Scheme to the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation.

The establishment of our 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 seen 434 graduates covering 16 different health science disciplines - 57% of our graduates are women! Our foundation continues to support around 250 students every year, but unfortunately due to funding restrictions we are supporting 181 students this year.