He could have asked for a helicopter flip, a trip to a soccer match or a shopping spree, but Siphelo Ndungane chose to better himself – asking for a laptop to study and advice on becoming a teacher.
With the help of Reach for a Dream, Siphelo, 18, yesterday took one step closer to becoming the teacher he hopes to one day become.
Ndungane who suffers from a life-threatening illness, was yesterday taken to Nelson Mandela University (NMU) to find out more about his dream career.
He was also given a laptop, courtesy of Continental Tyre SA, something he desperately wanted as it would aid him in his studies.
Last year Siphelo had to miss a year of school due to his illness.
It was for this reason he wanted a laptop so he could study from home without having to travel to facilities far from home.
“Last year I was given the option to stay at home because my illness did not allow me to always be out and about.
“I was okay with this and consoled myself by telling myself that it was okay if I missed a year of school as I am in no rush anyway.
“I dreamt of getting a laptop and realised that it would make my life a lot easier in terms of doing what I usually do at the library.
“I’m so happy and grateful that this has been made possible”, Siphelo said.
He added that he hoped to become a teacher so he could be a good role model and mentor youngsters who faced challenges.
“My favourite subjects at school are mathematical literacy and life science which are the ones I want to teach,” he said.
“I also want to help those who are struggling with either school or various challenges that we sometimes face as teenagers.”
Siphelo was also able to sit down with NMU executive dean of education Dr Muki Moeng, who arranged for him to be able to ask education lecturers a number of questions.
Moeng said: “You don’t normally get young people who are interested in education [and] wanting to become teachers.
“When I heard about him I realised I should open up this opportunity to him because ultimately he wants to plough back.
“We are in dire need of good teachers, ones who are just like him and want to change the world.”
Port Elizabeth Reach for a Dream branch manager Michelle van Huyssteen said: “What inspired us to do what we did here today was Siphelo’s fighting spirit.
“Last year, he went through a very tough time but as you can see, he did not lose his fighting spirit.
“The reason we fulfil dreams is that we want to give children that fighting spirit.”
Continental Tyre spokeswoman Jiminy Bosman said: “What is inspiring about this dream in particular is that it is education-based. I’m very excited to be here today and to be able to make his dream come true.”