Twenty-five young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have graduated in various fields such as accounting, health and education, with the support of the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust and the Jacob Zuma Foundation.
The President’s foundation has educated more than 25 000 needy students to date.
“I want to thank all of you beneficiaries for using this opportunity well so that you can uplift your families and the communities as you are doing.
“But most importantly, we need to work together more to change the lives of poor people, especially from our rural areas. We want to make the rural areas also places of development for our communities,” President Zuma said on Friday.
The President was speaking at the annual Christmas party for orphans and vulnerable children hosted by his foundation at Mnyakanya High School, KwaNxamalala, Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.
The students, who represented the many more graduates, told their stories of how the bursaries had rescued them from difficulties and changed their lives as well as those of their families.
The children and youth received Christmas gifts that included lunch packs, school bags, balls and vanity bags.
“We thank the many children and those who accompanied them to this important annual event where we do something with the little resources for the many orphans and children who come from the poorest of backgrounds so that they are assisted in gaining education and knowledge to improve their family circumstances,” said President Zuma.
President Zuma noted the growth of the event over the years, the support of the Department of Social Development as a key partner, as well as leaders of big and small businesses supporting the initiative.
He was joined by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Higher Education and Training Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, State Security Minister Bongani Bongo as well as Deputy Minister Ellen Molekane and Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu.
The event was also attended by the Premier of Northern Cape Sylvia Lucas and Premier of the Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle as well as KwaZulu-Natal MECs Sihle Zikalala and Weziwe Thusi, Mayor of Ethekwini Zandile Gumede and the Mayor of King Cetshwayo Municipality Nonhle Mkhulisi.