Godfrey Tshehla’s story – a must read

I am constantly amazed at the incredible work that is being done in the NGO sector. We have 100,000 NGOs in South Africa the great majority of which are making a significant difference to our future. What politicians and journalists tell us is not all that is happening!

Please read this, if it doesn’t give you hope nothing will! Steuart Pennington

By Godfrey Tshehla – in my own words

My name is Godfrey Tshehla, and I come from a township called Tembisa in Gauteng. My academic life was going well, at least according to me, until one day in December of 2010 when it was time to fetch my school report. I remember my teacher asking for my surname, and when I was about to respond, she threw my school report at me. I was smiling until I picked it up and opened it – I felt like I was lost and dizzy. My heart was very painful. I had an average mark of 39% for all my subjects, 19% for mathematics and 24% for physical sciences. That was the worst academic performance I had ever had. I had failed Grade 10! Reflecting on that day I suspect my teacher’s anger, and disgust was at how I squandered my time given, the inherent potential she could see – I could have done so much better.

In 2011, I repeated Grade 10, my teacher Mr. Gcina Khumalo gave me a chance to apply for the Tomorrow Trust Holiday and Saturday School Programme. The Tomorrow Trust Holiday and Saturday School Programme provide you with a platform to not only better your academic performance but to grow as an individual. They set you apart from the rest and take an invested interested in you and your potential.

My marks improved from 19% in Mathematics to 86% in mathematics and from 24% in Physical Sciences to 58%. At Tomorrow Trust they recognized your achievements and awarded an achievement certificate. As part of the programme, they expose you to many different opportunities. Do you know that my first trip to Gold Reef City was with Tomorrow Trust – which was amazing! With Tomorrow Trust continuous motivation, belief and support, I worked hard and matriculated with 100% in mathematics and 91% in Physical Sciences with an average of 79% in all my subjects. I was awarded Best Learner (1st position) in Mathematics during National Senior Certificate examinations by both Gauteng Department of Education and Ekurhuleni North District.

Tomorrow Trust is not like any other NPO. They continue their support after Grade 12 and learners with their ambition into the tertiary space. I was then awarded a bursary from the Tomorrow Trust’s Post-Secondary team to further my studies at the University of the Witwatersrand by studying BSc in Computational and Applied Mathematics. My varsity life was difficult academically as it was not easy to adapt to the environment and university teaching. Not only did the Tomorrow Trust give me academic support but also psychological and social support through their Holistic Workshop Programme aimed at developing oneself and give students motivation and courage to face the real world.

At the end of 2016, I completed my undergraduate degree, passing all subjects first time with multiple distinctions and making it to the Dean’s List. In 2017, I went on to further my studies by completing a degree in BSc (Hons) Advanced Mathematics of Finance. Later that year, I got a spot as an intern at Rand Merchant Bank’s Winter School; getting an opportunity to engage with students from different universities and academic backgrounds. I am currently working at Rand Merchant Bank. Being in the workplace as a first-timer is very challenging because you meet people with different levels of maturity, responsibility, and understanding.

Tomorrow Trust is an amazing non-profit organization. I have been part of the family since Grade 10. They contributed to who I am today! They recognized the potential I thought I didn’t have. To show my gratitude, I volunteer as a tutor to other learners who participate in the Holiday and Saturday School programme; making it one of the best interpersonal experiences I have ever had – giving back when I have received so much. They gave me courage when I was hopeless.