Helping transform lives by empowering young adults through education
October 07, 2015
Funding from Tata Africa (the Distribution vertical and subsidiary of Tata International), means that students like Prinisha Pillay can present important findings at international conferences on pain and disability caused by nerve damage as a result of HIV infection, and its treatment with some classes of antiretroviral drugs.
Pillay is one of 20 students from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, who received the Tata Africa Scholarship Postgraduate Awards, established in 2006. The awards were first given to Wits students, and since then the scholarships have expanded to reach students in other South African institutions of higher learning.
“A standpoint that we particularly take seriously at Tata is our commitment to ensuring that we make meaningful contribution where we conduct business, and this is our way of conducting business,” says Behram Sabawala, head, finance and accounts and chief financial officer, Tata Africa Holdings.
These scholarships are awarded to academically and financially deserving students from honours to doctoral level, across various fields of study.
The amount awarded for each scholarship is between R30,000 to R50,000, depending on the level of study. The amount covers the students’ tuition fees, books, and accommodation and living costs.
At an award ceremony held at the Wits Club, existing and new recipients were present. Some presented their research.
Pillay said the Tata award has contributed to her professional development as a young researcher and is grateful for the impact of the generous contribution. She has presented her research findings at the 14th World Congress on Pain (Milan, Italy), the 4th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain (Toronto, Canada), and the 5th International Congress on Neuropathic Pain (Nice, France), and at both the Pain SA Congresses in Pretoria and Muldersdrift, South Africa. A paper she co-authored was recently published in the South African Medical Journal.
“This experience was invaluable. Attending these congresses also gave me the opportunity to learn a new and efficient neurological screening technique for diagnosing neuropathy, which I have since added to my research tool at the HIV clinic,” said Pillay.
Presenting her research at the ceremony titled: ‘Emerging patterns of social and spatial (dis)integration in Suburban South Africa: The case of Mokopane’, Emma Monama who has recently been awarded an MSc Geography plans to pursue a PhD abroad with case studies focused on Africa, in future.
Monama thanked the company on behalf of herself and other students who have benefited from this initiative. Tata Africa has supported her academic journey since 2012.
“Your kindness indeed gives us courage and hope in the trajectory of change in Africa, and South Africa in particular. Your generosity has further inspired me to give back to my country and I hope that one day I will be able to help other students achieve their goals as you have helped me,” said Monama.
Tata International has always committed itself to social change. Through its scholarship initiatives, it has managed to transform lives and inspire academic excellence and empower youth from the various institutions in the country. To date, over R11 million in scholarships has been awarded to students at Wits. Twenty students were awarded scholarships this year. This number has risen from the 18 beneficiaries since 2013. The ceremony which was hosted by the development and fundraising office at Wits was attended by representatives from Tata, Wits representatives, and family and friends of recipients.