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Epilepsy South Africa

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Epilepsy SA Educational Trust

The Epilepsy South Africa Educational Trust was established in December 1998. The founding Trustees (Kathryn Pahl, Amelia Jones, Donald Campbell, Mzolisi Toni, Vusi Mahlasela and Jocelyne Kane-Berman) embraced the vision and together perused and assessed numerous applications from all over South Africa.
The Trust exists solely to provide financial support for tertiary education to promising and talented students with epilepsy. Although only able to provide part-bursaries, the Trust’s support to students has been making a life-changing difference for nearly two decades.
2018 is a particularly important year for the Educational Trust as we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. We intend celebrating this event in September 2018 when the 50th anniversary celebrations of Epilepsy South Africa concludes.

Dr Amelia Jones (Chairperson) has more than 40 years experience in the social welfare sector having qualified as a social worker in 1969. She spent the first 25 years of her career as a Probation Officer and gained experience at Child Welfare, Nicro and Epilepsy South Africa. She joined the Community Chest of the Western Cape in 1993 as the Grant Allocations Manager and was appointed as Chief Executive in 1997, a post she held until retiring in 2013. Dr Jones has chaired the Epilepsy SA Educational Trust for more than a decade.
Prof Roland Eastman MBChB served as head of the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town. He also served as a Board member of Epilepsy South Africa, President of the Neurology Association of South Africa (NASA) and President of the South African Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE).
Mrs Karen Robinson served as the National Social Development Manager of Epilepsy South Africa, having previously worked for more than a decade as an Occupational Social Worker in the South African National Defence Force. Mrs Robinson holds a Master’s Degree in social sciences and is registered with the SA Council of Social Service Professions.
Mr Mbulelo Bikwani is the former CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Until 2017, he was Chair of Council of CPUT. He also serves on a number of boards and Trusts, like, Keymix Investments, Continuation Pension and Provident funds, Cookhouse Windfarm Community Trust, iGen Education Trust and he is Founding Chairperson of the Isiseko Family Institute. Currently he is the Executive Director of Sucgrate Consulting Services and holds a B Juris degree from UWC.

Goals of the Epilepsy SA Educational Trust

The goals of the Trust are:

  • To enable persons with epilepsy to study at tertiary level;
  • To empower persons with epilepsy from marginalised and previously disadvantaged communities;
  • To create role-models with epilepsy;
  • To assist person with epilepsy to lay the groundwork to employment.

Adding value

  • In addition to providing financial support to students with epilepsy, the Trust also enables these beneficiaries to participate in the activities of Epilepsy South Africa. This includes contributions to Epinews (a newsletter for persons with epilepsy by persons with epilepsy), conducting awareness and educational talks and workshops and acting as role models to other (especially young) persons with epilepsy.
  • Bursary recipients are also expected to volunteer within Epilepsy South Africa to familiarise themselves with issues related to the condition. Such voluntary work can be carried out in a number of programmes and geographic locations.
  • Students also have access to all services of Epilepsy South Africa, including advocacy and human rights, social development, economic development and skills development.
  • Bursary beneficiaries form the core of the Nicholas Project (Epilepsy South Africa’s youth awareness initiative). We are creating a series of awareness initiatives aimed at educational institutions (primary, secondary and tertiary), institutions responsible for the training of educators and parents/families of young persons with epilepsy. These awareness talks includes epilepsy education but focuses on the achievements of young persons with epilepsy to focus attention on their abilities rather than disabilities.