The organisation known as Fundi came into existence in 2016, but the initiative itself was known as Eduloan and started back in 1996. The organisation started off by giving government employees a chance to further their studies and improve the quality of work they provide to the workforce. Now, under the guise of Tshepo Ditshego, Fundi’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the fintech group offers educational loans, bursary management and cashless payment solutions for schools.

The organisation’s main responsibility was to conduct bursary fund management and disperse bursaries on behalf of universities. Fundi Fund finances private and tertiary education, postgraduate qualifications and MBAs. The funding given out also extends to covering other costs pertaining to student life like textbooks, study tools, uniforms and accommodation. In speaking about how Fundi Fund disperses its bursary payments, Ditshego ascertains that the organization uses a combination of internal software and a closed-loop payment system to manage payment.

Fundi Fund also boasts the creation of a bursary support program that keeps track of students during the course of their studies. Ditshego describes the program as being well received by private institutions that offer bursary money to students. The program ensures that students passed their credits and attained their qualification via responsible budgeting of bursary money and supplies students with tutoring, psychosocial support and peer mentorship.

“the organization uses a combination of internal software and a closed-loop payment system to manage payment.”

On 29 November 2019, Fundi officially launched its Fundi Fund to suppliers in its value chain. The model for the new fund will have individuals from the greater education ecosystem to contribute a monthly fee that will accumulate into a successful collective spend that can be harnessed to finance the potential of many young Africans. Ditshego explains that the mechanism behind the Fundi Fund is “comprises of team members who consent to a monthly deduction from their salary which is then pooled across the company, with Fundi matching it from its own CSI funding.”

Ditshego notes that the fund has already changed the lives of 12 learners, with eight of these being children of staff members. Ditshego explains that members’ continued willingness to contribute to the fund is what allows many youngsters to attend tertiary institutions. “In fact, if anything, we’ve seen an increase in levels of generosity from team members over the past years. This is both humbling and inspiring given that most of them have their own families and children that they’re supporting through school or college. It has demonstrated the real potential of what can collectively be enabled in this space.”

Nompilo Shange and Mpumelelo Vilakazi, who currently attend tertiary institutions, are two students who are supported by the Fundi Fund. Shange mentions that Fundi has provided him with all the tools he needed to enable his dream of becoming an accountant, including additional tutoring and mentoring support. Shange is currently pursuing an accounting internship. Tankiso Mahetlane and Nerys Govindsamy are others who are supported by the fund.

“the fund has already changed the lives of 12 learners”

“With the odds of finishing school or pursuing a tertiary qualification still stacked against many children in our country, we’re proud to have started our own legacy of change,” says Ditshego. “It’s a privilege to be part of anyone’s learning journey and to walk with them as they create their own paths of meaning and purpose in the world. We’re excited to have extended this opportunity to others today – and look forward to driving an agenda of positive change in this space.”

Ditshego states that he would like for Fundi Fund to attain status as the “Amazon of education”. In speaking about the future growth of Fundi Fund, Ditshego states that the main purpose of the initiative is to “to enable dreams and help individuals realise their dreams”. Currently, Fundi Fund has spent 13 billion in bursary funds to enable 1.6 million dreams, Ditshego hopes that by 2023, the initiative will help realize five million dreams.

Image: Dani Van Der Horst

Susanna Anbu