Help 2 South African students pursue their academic dreams

John and Portia met Charlotte leader Sarah Stevenson a couple of years ago when Stevenson was part of a tour of South Africa. John and Portia were part of a group of nine young people who latched onto Stevenson and wouldn’t let go. We want to go to Johnson C. Smith University, they said. Stevenson said she would see to it.

See about it she did. For her 89th birthday in 2014, Stevenson had a party and asked people to donate toward tuition for these young people. For her 90th this fall, she had been planning to raise some more.

Then the two students who were still determined to come to Charlotte started raising money for airfare. They contacted the American counsel’s office in South Africa for student visas. Plans sped up, and instead of arriving in December 2015, they had tickets for arrival as early as Aug. 9.

Should they be sent home? Why, no, said Stevenson. The Lord will make this work. The Lord – with a bit of help down here below from a bunch of Stevenson’s friends, who have stepped up with dollars to make these students’ dream become a reality.

Both young people encountered technical difficulties making it to the States. Portia will attend JCSU for the fall semester. John was initially delayed for a semester, then a year. But Stevenson is still at work raising support for these young people who are so determined.

At left is a way for you to make a donation online, simply and easily, by giving directly to JCSU in support of John and Portia.


  • John may arrive in January

    Dec. 13, 2016: Sarah reports that John Malindi has received support for his flight to the States. He’s currently scheduled to arrive Jan. 2 or Jan. 3.

  • Sarah Stevenson says thanks to supporters for boosting fund

    Nov. 17, 2015

    Sarah Stevenson, who co-founded the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum, used the Forum this morning to announce fundraising results from her Oct. 25 90th birthday celebration.

  • Thanks to all who participated in today’s birthday celebration


    Oct. 25, 2015

    Click here for video excerpts from Sunday’s event marking Sarah Stevenson’s 90th birthday and her ongoing efforts to raise money for tuition and fees so that two South African students can get a taste of college at Johnson C. Smith University.

    As of Oct. 26, the event had raised $5,520 toward John Malindi’s spring semester tuition. More updates anon.

  • Surrounded by friends, and devoted to a mission



    Oct. 1, 2015

    Portia writes: “This is the best thing about my job: Because I work with people who are selfless and challenge me to give my best in everything I do.

    “Our mission is to empower girls such as these to be leaders and role models in the community through mentorship, leadership and advocacy.

    “Nothing brings me more joy than to know that I helped a girl to reach her full potential. I thank God for this and making me realize my purpose.”

    Motsapi with EmpowHerment Executive Director Carrie Cook and Lanae’ Brown at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.
    Motsapi with EmpowHerment Founder Carrie Cook and Lanae’ Brown at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.

    “Not only do I have the best boss in the universe, but I thank you Carrie Cook for believing in me and giving me the chance to empowHer the girls.”


Read more in the Update Blog: Notes about this project since July 27, 2015