Achieve your goals, advance your career, and make a positive contribution to something greater than yourself. We explore just some of the reasons international students choose to study in the UK with Chevening.

In this article we speak with Zwelakhe Gila, Director of the Mandulo Foundation, about how his work has helped to feed over 3 million mouths in 2021.


University: University of Exeter
Course: Msc Financial Analysis & Fund Management
Home country: South Africa

My proudest moment since entering the Chevening programme has been successfully launching the Mandulo Foundation Food Pantry Initiative which supports orphanages and community centres who are in need of food supplies.

We launched the initiative in South Africa and Chicago following a visit to a rural settlement in southern Johannesburg. We visited a community mainly made up of women and children who had escaped abusive homes. There, we were made aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the food supply they rely on to feed their families.

We reached out to major food distributors to set up partnerships so that we could help provide these urgent food supplies. We used our social media platforms for a call for information on other orphanages, homes, and community centres who could benefit from the surplus of donations we had.

Through strategic partnerships, we were able to distribute an average of over 400kg’s of food a week. We recently celebrated feeding over 3 million mouths in 2021.

Chevening deepened my passion for providing children from impoverished backgrounds with the basic resources to enable them to grow into the best version of themselves. My Chevening experience taught me to expand my viewpoint on issues faced by the youth of low-income households in the UK.

One of the great pleasures of studying at the University of Exeter Business School is the value of the network I have been able to create. The number of social events and student groups makes the process of meeting new, like-minded people very simple.

The instant bond formed with other Cheveners was my support system while I was in the UK.

As a result of the connections I’ve made with like-minded professors and students at the University of Exeter, the Mandulo Foundation has been able to expand our skills development programme to support students in grade 11 and 12 who come from low-income backgrounds to prepare for the world of work. Thanks to the partnership with the university, the programme is set to run in February 2022.

I’m so proud to be a Chevener and hope that others will read my story and feel encouraged to achieve their own goals.

Find out more about the impact of Cheveners who have studied in the UK on a fully funded scholarship or fellowship.

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