Saadia Kabil completed her schooling in 2021 and is one of our recent scholarship alumni.
Saadia has been awarded a $50 000 bursary from the University of Toronto (Canada) and was also accepted into the University of British Columbia.
She will study Faculty of Arts and Science – and plans to complete a double major of History and English – English Literature – Creative Writing and majoring in Philosophy.
Saadia Kabil and KMF
Saadia was born in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, and has lived in various areas of the Western Cape such as Mannenberg, Uitsig, Parow, Goodwood and currently in Kensington.
“I lived in a lot of rough neighbourhoods. Gangsterism , drugs and violence were the order of the day, seeing kids dropping out of school, going hungry, the dream of life outside these circumstances almost seems impossible.
“I would walk to school in the morning and see people sleeping on the streets. I would return from school and have small children ring our doorbell and beg for ‘a little something to eat, please.’ Some of these kids complete school and some don’t, they get jobs at the factory down the street, they might eventually move out of their parents’ house, but they very seldom move out of the neighbourhood.”
This was the future and the reality Saadia faced growing up.
“Before Kay Mason came into my life , this was what my future looked like. At that time in my life, it was even more bleak, we were on the brink of homelessness , my parents had lost everything, and life was falling apart. All of the big, impossible dreams I had since I was a little girl, dreams of studying overseas, dreams of travelling, dreams of a comfortable life , seemed not just impossible but downright laughable at this point.”
Through the KMF Scholarship Saadia was able to attend an excellent school and to focus on her grades. She also received academic assistance and could always turn to the foundation for assistance.
“The Kay Mason Foundation helped me in so many ways, it would be impossible to list them all, it was a home away from home and my second family.
“If it wasn’t for KMF, I wouldn’t have been able to attend Settlers High, and not have had as many opportunities. I would not have been able to apply to study abroad and I would not have been able to watch my little seedling grow and develop. My big, impossible dreams would have stayed just that, big and impossible.”
Pursuing her goals
At Kay Mason Foundation we encourage students to pursue their goals.
“KMF gave me a good foundation to start with. They encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams, so I decided to follow my dreams and apply to universities abroad.
“I was accepted into both the institutions I applied to – the University of Toronto, and the University of Columbia. I received two partial scholarships from the University of Toronto for two different program choices. I also applied for the Lester B Pearson International Scholarship award, this is a full scholarship and I am waiting on a response from them.”
Saadia Kabil says her life slowly started to turn around once she was accepted at KMF and looked forward to class every Saturday and that her ‘impossible dream’ was now started to grow into reality.
“Although things got worse before they got better, later that year we found a house and I progressed into the scholarship. We still lived in a rough neighbourhood but I had this seed of hope that was growing and all I had to do was nurture it and with the help of KMF this became easier than ever.
“KMF has given me so much, and when you receive, you feel tempted to give back. My family and I distribute food to people we see in the community, we also try to organize soup drives or grocery packages, we also donate clothes. It’s so important to share whatever you have wherever you can. Goodness only ever increases by the more you share.”
What really helped me…
“Kay Mason Foundation is doing a great job.
“One program that really touched me was volunteer work that I did in Grade 10. I volunteered at a home for abused mothers and children and it really puts things into perspective when you see people who have much less than you, who benefit from just your time.
Another program that has been helpful and incredible for all scholars is the Catapult Mentorship program.
“My mentor, Kathleen, is so talented and has helped me a lot with making university decisions and with writing my entrance essays.
My hope for KMF is that it continues to grow. I hope that all the scholars, my group and the kids above and below me, become successful and are able to give back to KMF.
I hope that KMF continues to touch and inspire change in young people’s lives.”
Saadia says that given time to progress with her studies, in a year from now she would be a better mentor for future students.
Visit our Support Programs page for more on the Kay Mason Foundation model of Selection, Accountability and Support.