Vuyolwethu Pakade founded Foonda Technology Solutions to help make tertiary education more accessible for young South Africans. There are countless obstacles that impede the progress of learners, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds. This led Pakade to create the Foonda app, a digital platform that matches eligible students with tertiary education scholarships, bursaries and other sponsorships from around the world.
The app serves a dual purpose. First, it enables learners to see what offers they are eligible for. This allows them to plot a course of action and apply for support for their studies.
The second and less apparent effect of an app such as Foonda is something that defies quantification. Applying to tertiary education is a daunting prospect for even the most well-prepared of learners. Such a process can be overwhelming for those who lack strong support structures at home or school. This is especially the case when someone is not sure how they would finance their education. But, with an app like Foonda, the various paths are illuminated and students, who might have otherwise never thought to, will apply for scholarships and bursaries.
In essence, the app aims to make the journey of economic upliftment through education a more immediately viable choice for underprivileged learners.
Foonda recently received R2.1-million in funding from the Diageo Empowerment Fund, when the app landed in the top two in the 2019 Diageo Social Tech Startup Challenge.
Pakade’s own journey shows how much can be achieved through belief in oneself and, through Foonda, he’s hoping to open up that experience to all South Africans.