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We gladly welcome every donation no matter how big or small. Our Internet donations are managed by a very capable, accredited non profit organisation called GivenGain. As you click on donate you will be transferred to a secure donation site where we are registered. 

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Easy to starts

Long Term Solutions

The approach used by the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation is more than a simple bursary 'hand out'. Rather, it is one of the few long term solutions to the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals for South Africa's rural areas. Research has shown that health professionals are more likely to choose to work in a rural hospital if that is they orginate, or if they are exposed to the realities of rural health care delivery whilst doing their university training.

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Working Together

We have numerous significant partnerships including funders, the Department of Health, the community but the most important in terms of implementing the programme is the local hospital. Together with the rural hospital, we identify, train and support rural youth to become qualified health professionals, who in turn commit to work at the local hospital for their contract period.

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Great docs & support

Success So Far

The UYDF has produced 185 graduates and currently supports 205 students studying a wide range of health science disciplines - Medicine, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy, Nutrition, Biomedical Technology, Social Work, Optometry, Dental Therapy, Dentistry, Environmental Health, Speech Therapy, Social Work, Nursing, Radiology and Psychology.

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The Umthombo Youth Development Foundation, identifies, trains and supports rural youth to become qualified health care professionals in order to address the human resource shortages in rural hospitals thereby improving health care to rural communities. On completion of their training, these young health care professionals work at one of the 11 hospitals in the Umkhanyakude, Zululand, Uthungulu or Sisonke districts in return for the opportunity they had to study a health science qualification.

The Umthombo YDF provides comprehensive mentoring and financial support to rural students during their studies, and assists them to integrate into the hospital working environment, and become professional health care workers on graduation.

We offer a long term solution to the challenge of recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals in South Africa's rural areas. Research has shown that health professionals are more likely to choose to work in a rural hospital if that is where they come from, or if they are exposed to the realities of rural health care delivery during their university training.

Over the past 14 years, 218 graduates have been produced, covering 16 different health science disciplines.  This year  we are supporting 230 rural youth to become future healthcare workers. Download a copy of our latest 2014/5 Annual Report

Our work has been acknowledged tby a number of awards, including: KZN MEC for Health Special Award 2014; Health Innovator Award 2014 (Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship); Special Ministerial Award 2013 (Public Service & Administration); winner of the 2011 Mail & Guardian Investing in Life Award & 2012 BHP Billiton Achiever Award

 Watch a short video of our work, highlighting the challenges that our rural students face and how they are determined to succeed!

                The UYDF Promotion of Access to Information Act Manual.

Subject:                          Newsletter June 2011

| Issue 3 | June 2011

Dear Friend

When Dr Andrew Ross shared his idea of starting a scheme to train local youth to become the future health care providers at rural hospitals, people’s responses were: you will never find anyone from Ingwavuma who will get into university, and if you do, they will fail and drop-out; and if by some miracle you do find someone and they do complete their degree, they will never come back to a rural area after being exposed to city life.

Well I am happy to report that those people were wrong on all accounts. We are finding rural youth, who on their own merit, have obtained a place at University, and they are succeeding, since as reported in a previous Newsletter our 2010 pass rate was 89%, and the 2009 pass rate was 85%!

In this Newsletter, I would like to focus on the issue of whether the graduates do in fact go back. To date the scheme has produced 88 graduates, covering 14 different health science disciplines. If we look at the pie chart below, we are able to see where these graduates are currently.

It is clear that the majority of graduates (51 of 88) are working at rural hospitals. On graduating Doctors and Pharmacists are required to undertake compulsory internship training, which takes place at hospitals in urban centres, thus these graduates are not yet able to work at rural hospitals. They will honour their commitment after their internship training.

Significantly, of the 88 graduates, only 2 have left the public health sector for the private sector - and this was after they honoured their work back contracts by working at a rural hospital. Four graduates have bought themselves out, in order to pursue new opportunities or promotions not available within the district – this was done in discussion with us. Clearly, the pie chart shows thatgraduates are honouring their work back contracts.

All students and graduates are bound by legal work back contracts, so it would be interesting to see where the graduates are whose contracts with us have been fulfilled. Currently 35 graduates have no further obligation to us. As can be seen from the graph below, 80% of these graduates who no longer have a commitment to us, are still working in a rural health facility.

We can thus conclude that the investment in rural youth, to address the shortages of qualified health care staff at rural hospitals is an effective strategy (albeit long term).

Thus based on the above 3 facts: 1) rural youth are obtaining entrance into University to study health science degrees 2) they are succeeding at university 3) graduates are honouring their work back contracts, we are looking to scale up our programme in order to have a greater impact on the unacceptably high shortages of health care staff at rural hospitals – hence our support of 152 students this year and our intention of increasing the number of students we support annually.

In this regard, we have started working with two hospitals in the Eastern Cape to assist them to start the process of investing in local youth who eventually will become the health care workers they desperately need. These hospitals are St Patrick’s hospital in Bizana and Zithulele Hospital near Hole in the Wall.

Please visit our website and Facebook page and make contributions to the Facebook page!

Until next time, keep well



Our  Annual Report is available - download a copy - it makes great reading!

Contact Details: Postnet Suite 10328; Private Bag X7005; Hillcrest; 3650 Tel: 031 765 5774 - Fax: 031 765 6014 - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Website:www.umthomboyouth.org.za 

Watch this inspiring video highlighting the challenges and success of our work of identifying rural youth and supporting them in their training to become qualified healthcare workers in order to address the shortages of staff at rural hospitals. Click on the link on the homepage to view it.

From:                              Gavin MacGregor [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]

Sent:                               31 January 2012 02:50 PM

To:                                   Gavin MacGregor

Subject:                          Newsletter January 2012

| Issue 1 | January 2012

Dear Gavin
Best wishes to you for a wonderful 2012! I trust all your dreams and aspirations will become a reality this year! It is amazing that we are already at the end of the first month of the year!

We have so much exciting good news to share! Firstly we ended the year on a high, with an amazing R1 million donation from a faithful couple who have been monthly supporters of our work for the past 10 years! What an incredible gift of generosity, which was supported by the fact that they have requested to remain anonymous!

This donation will be used to provide partial support to 35 new students this year, who will receive the majority of their support through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding, which we have been able to access. This donation was an answer to prayer, as we had one major donor end their 10 year cycle of support. In the middle of December, I was assessing the amount of money still needed for 2012 – it was R 1,350,000, and now is R350 000!!

We had 24 students complete their degrees in 2011, which has increased the graduate numbers from 91 to 115! The breakdown of the new graduates is as follows: 7 Doctors; 2 Pharmacists; 2 Psychologists; 4 Biomedical Technicians; 4 Nurses, 2 Social Workers, a Radiographer, a Dental Assistant and our first Dentist!

Our 2011 pass rate is currently 89 %, although we are still awaiting confirmation of the outcome of supplementary examinations written by 4 of our students, in order to calculate the final percentage. This is an incredible achievement when one considers that all our students come from rural schools and were not adequately prepared for university, and the fact that health sciences are one of the most difficult fields of study. Congratulations goes to all the students who applied themselves and passed, and of course those who completed their degrees – the world is their oyster! We ascribe this high pass rate to our comprehensive mentoring programme, which assists students to deal with their academic and social challenges in order to succeed. A great job done by Dumisani and his team of local mentors who tirelessly give of themselves for the students’ benefit.

A documentary highlighting the lives of two of our graduates, Dr Patrick Ngwenya and Zamani Dlamini, was made by Health E News and featured on Special Assignment on 5 January. The documentary was excellently done, highlighting the challenges rural youth face in achieving their dreams. I know many people did not get to see it for various reasons, but a copy can be viewed or downloaded from the Health E News website. It has been split into 3 sections because of the size. May I encourage you all to take the time to view this incredibly inspiring story of two men who have overcome such odds to become a Doctor and a professional Nurse! Patrick and Zamani's stories are not unique, each one of the students we support has an incredible story of overcoming adversity in order to be where they are now!

In terms of our selection of new students, 10 hospitals have been involved in process of interviewing and selecting their own local students, whom we will provide financial and mentoring support to. We will be supporting 60 new students coming from these hospitals, in addition to a number of out of the area students who face financial exclusion. Our student numbers for 2012 will thus be in the order of 190!

I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of the programme throughout the year.



Download a copy of our latest Annual Report – it makes great reading!

Contact Details: Postnet Suite 10328; Private Bag X7005; Hillcrest; 3650 Tel: 031 765 5774 - Fax: 031 765 6014 - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - Website:www.umthomboyouth.org.za

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Anglo American Chairman's Fund              

Aspen Pharmacare                                    

Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation

Chuma Foundation

Discovery Foundation

Discovery Health                                       

Freddie Marincowitz Welfare Trust                                           

Investec:Ruth & Anita Wise Charitable & Education Trust 

Lily & Ernst Hausmann Bursary Trust 


Nedbank Foundation

Norman Wevell Trust 

Oppenheimer Memorial Trust 

RB Hagart Trust

Robert Niven Trust 

The Atlantic Philanthropies                      

The Bertha Foundation 

The DG Murray Trust

The Don McKenzie Trust

The ELMA Foundation

The Robin Hamilton Trust 

UCS Technology Services (Natal)


We are thankful for the support of a number of individual monthly donors: Dr Andrew Ross; Dr SS Mathenjwa;  Brian Whittaker; Glenys Ross; Richard Holden; Wendy Clarke; Zandi Rosochacki; The SS Mngomezulu family 




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