Medical graduate gets GHC 30k student debt paid off and job fighting COVID-19

Medical graduate gets GHC 30k student debt paid off and job fighting COVID-19

- A medical graduate's life changed in a matter of weeks

- Her student debt was paid off via crowdfunding and she landed a job as a health care professional

- She is proud to be doing her part in the fight against COVID-19

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Retshidisitswe Kotane was unable to graduate due to unpaid fees. She had missed three graduation ceremonies at the University of Witwatersrand Medical School.

Without her certificate from Wits University she was unable to register with the Health Professions Council of SA. learned that fortunately for her, an initiative by Feenix, a crowdfunding platform, helped her raise the money to pay off her debt.

This allowed her to register with the HPCSA and start working as a health care worker in the fight against COVID-19.

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SowetanLIVE reported the following from the CEO of the Tutuwa Foundation.

“Kotane heard about the Feenix crowdfunding platform, through which she was able to connect with individuals in her community to partly reach her fundraising goal with the bulk of the balance paid by the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation.
“Tutuwa is one of the institutions that has joined the Feenix community to ensure that students are given a chance to graduate and pursue the next step in their future,” Feenix said in a statement.
“The Foundation aims to inspire and support the growth and development of young people so that they can reach their full potential and be productive citizens. Our contribution to Feenix is to fund young people like Retshidisitswe Kotane to enable her to attain her degree certificate which she has worked so hard for, is an example of our contribution towards building a better SA and leaving a legacy,” said Zanele Twala, CEO of the Tutuwa Foundation.

Kotane revealed that her life had improved tremendously since she was able to graduate:

“After I received the e-mail telling me my debt would be covered, I was in complete disbelief. I only realised it was true when I checked my fee statement a week later and found that the outstanding fees had indeed been settled.”

She immediately set out and registered with the HPCSA and a few days later was offered a locum (part-time) position at a private clinic.

“To her surprise, a week after registering with the HPCSA, a former lecturer called her to advise that there was an opportunity to apply for work at Netcare. Kotane sent her CV through, and within a few days, was offered a position as part of the response team to the Covid-19 pandemic at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD),” Feenix said.

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Kotane was overwhelmed by how fast her life had changed.

“All of this happened within less than a month of having my debt cleared and registering with the HPCSA,” said Kotane.
“I am so grateful to Feenix and the Tutuwa Foundation. It has been an overwhelming journey and I can still hardly believe it.”

Kotane is proud to be doing her part in the fight against Covid-19.

I am doing what I am passionate about and learning so much at the same time,” she said.
“Universities are unable to release graduate certificates to students who haven’t settled their fees in full,” explained Cara-Jean Petersen, student engagement manager at Feenix.
“For some professions, the certificate is required proof of qualification and without it, graduates cannot be employed. This creates a vicious circle of unemployment, as the student cannot get a job until they can prove their qualification, but they cannot pay their outstanding fees until they have secured a job.”

Meanwhile, a 56-year-old Ghanaian cobbler called Opani Sarfo who could not endure the lockdown exercise because of extreme hunger broke down in tears on camera after receiving a gift of GHC1,000.

The father of five children was blessed with the gift by individuals in Virginia, USA, under the auspices of the Crime Check Foundation under the leadership of Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng.

Opani Sarfo was spotted in his cobbler shop which was in violation of the lockdown exercise put in place by President Nana Akufo-Addo to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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