Monash University Staff Step Up

Bettering Africa

by Kelsey Anderson (9 December 2009)

Monash participants in this year's 10,000 Steps Challenge have helped raise $1,000 for the Monash University Fund for Education in Southern Africa (MUFESA), while empowering a South African community.

Following in the footsteps of former Monash Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Larkins, who personally donated $30,000 to MUFESA in 2008, Wellbeing @ Monash, along with Monash Prato Centre, donated all proceeds from sales of 10,000 Steps pedometers directly to the fund.

Established in 2007, MUFESA aims to create educational opportunities for Southern African students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to having an impact on Africa. MUFESA also supports education and community engagement projects that focus on the education, health, and well-being of disadvantaged communities in Southern Africa. As part of the funding drive Monash also commissioned 3,500 bracelets from artists working with the Ubuhle Be Valley Beadwork Project, in the Valley of a Thousand Hills (KwaNyuswa, South Africa). The bracelets were included in packs provided to participants in the challenge. The Ubuhle Be project was developed by Vusi Kweyama (see photo), one of two MUFESA scholarship students welcomed to Monash South Africa this year.

Vusi developed the project in response to the devastating effects of unemployment and HIV/AIDS and to promote the artistic heritage of his community: KwaNyuswa. The project has created locally developed and driven employment opportunities; and Vusi's goal is to establish similar projects in other developing countries.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Marketing) Professor Stephanie Fahey said Monash staff had the opportunity to support the MUFESA program. "We hope to encourage not only philanthropic support but also support from government agencies such as AusAID, so that we can provide broader support for education and training in South Africa," Professor Fahey said.

For more information contact Monash education administrator, Kelsey Anderson, on + 61 3 9905 5390 or by email at