An engineering student Lorraine Tolo managed to use Nelson Mandela Day to pay off her outstanding fees through social media. She managed to achieve this in less than 24 hours.
The 27-year-old University of Johannesburg student took to Facebook to ask for assistance to settle the debt.
She posted on a group called Brown Senses with 195000 followers asking those who could to donate R67 towards her tuition, which amounted to more than R40 000.
Tolo said the idea came about randomly and she took a leap of faith.
“I was browsing through my phone when I realised it was Mandela Day and in that light I remembered Tata was an advocate for education, which prompted me to ask for assistance and use the 67 minutes initiative in a way that would benefit me,” she said.
Tolo, who was raised by her mother in Mamelodi, says she was always passionate about education, although her mother couldn’t afford it.
She did not give up on her dream of a university qualification, which would be a stepping stone to a good job. Tolo, who registered for a two-year BTech course, said this was not the first time she had reached out for help.
Early this year, she approached a chief executive to assist her with money as her studies had been blocked because of outstanding fees.
Online crowdfunding platforms such as Backabuddy and Feenix have reported a spike in the number of campaigns since the start of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown in March.
Feenix, a platform connecting funders to tertiary education students to help settle their fees and study debts, reported a 200% increase in new user registrations.
The organisation also saw a 155% increase in individual donations on their platform.
Backabuddy, another local crowdfunding platform, reported a 32% increase in the number of campaign submissions and a 72% increase in individual donations.