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A CHRISTMAS WISH: To finish my last year of my Social Work Degree

A CHRISTMAS WISH: To finish my last year of my Social Work Degree

Personal message


It s the 30th of December 2018, I am not relaxing on holiday, I am preparing for my final year of studies. I have cleaned my desk, sharpened my pencils and covered my files and books. I have re-read all my prescribed books and today I am starting to read a new prescribed book I have never used.  I am reading and taking notes so that next year I can continue to get great marks. I am not just a student trying to pass because I have to, I am a student who loves what she is studying and I know that my studies can touch and change lives.

Thank you to all who have donated so far, your blessing mean so much to me. Thank you!


Many people dont know, but I only have a grade 8. I left home and started working when I was a child meaning I could no longer attend school. I was always very academic with great marks and really good at maths. I always wanted an academic career and found away into University with no school training. Not only was I accepted and issued with a full exemption (equal to a matric/grade 12), but I did it with the top marks in the history of the entrance program. Now all I am hoping and praying for is to finish my degree. I am doing my last year of a 4 year degree (which is like an Honours level) in Social work focusing on the use of distance social work intervention with people who do not have access to help. This can benefit people with rare conditions such as Alpha Gal of which I was the first case in South Africa and at the time of being diagnosed the only help I had was from new friends in other counties that I made on a Facebook group. This is an example how technology can save a persons life. Now lets take that concept a little further. In 2018, I held one of the first virtual / online Social group work sessions in the HISTORY OF UNISA. And in 2019 I will be doing the same.

Whats the big deal?
Well people with rare conditions dont often meet with other people with the same rare condition. Using technology we can link people and at the same time offer them social work intervention in the form of individual counselling and support groups.

Beyond rare conditions such intervention can be offered to people who are far from resources and need urgent care for example a rape victim in a rural area in the middle of the night where they dont have access to a counselling or people with server depression who dont want to leave the house but need help for a their condition.

I have been given unique permission from my university to work, think and study out of the box and I plan to take this topic to a master degree and beyond,

And all this I do part-time as I am a full time mommy (and one day full time social worker) to my amazing kids at Thandi House Baby Home


I am still unable to study in 2019, I have tried a few options but all have failed. Please read my Christmas Wish.

By Rene Morcom



It has taken me years to come this far and it has not been easy. I left school in grade 8 due to family problems and got a job. I loved school and always dreamt of being a doctor. However this was not possible and I had to started working at a young age. When I got married I started to look for ways to go back to school. I eventually found a way to get into University through a Mature Learner Assessment and I took it head on in 2009, with only a grade 8. It took me around 6 months to complete, I worked day and night to finish it. I passed with one of the highest marks EVER achieved for the portfolio of evidence with 95%! I even received a call from the Dean at the time to congratulate me on my achievement. I had to register for a handful of first year modules in order to apply for a degree. Again I passed really well. I originally registered for a Bachelor of Science Degree to take the path to be a doctor, but later changed to the Social Work Degree. Why? I started a home called Thandi House in Pietermaritzburg for abandoned and abused children and I wanted a qualification that would help make the world a better place. I wanted a degree that would make the lives of my children in our care better, I wanted to help moms who were desperate and could not care for their babies, I wanted to know the law in terms of children at risk so I could “save them” from their hurt environments. Due to not being able to work in an environment where I could earn a proper income as I am now a full time mommy to many abandoned babies and children, it has taken me years to complete my degree because I cannot afford to take many modules and took what I could afford each year. UNISA has a time limit to complete a degree and I am running out of time and dont have the money to complete the degree. I might not be the doctor I always dreamed of being, but I am now leaving the dream - a mommy to those who before had none. What more can anyone one ask for!!


I was diagnosed with a rare condition called Alpha Gal Syndrome in 2016. With the support of an international group I was able to come to terms with the condition and was able to live a normal safe and normal life. As a person passionate about helping people during my 3rd year, I proposed to my University to work in the virtual field of social work dealing with people all over the world with Alpha Gal. Traditionally we are placed at an organization where we find clients and do counselling and group work under a Social Workers supervision at that organisation. Running Thandi House, I have years of practical and court work experience. I challenged the Department of Social Work to allow me to think out the box. I did not want to be placed at an organisation where I will be doing and learning, what I do everyday at Thandi House. Remember Social work is not only about child protection, many think of social workers removing children and go to court. Social work is also about counselling etc. I was required to draw a detailed proposal and waited for months, with much to and from correspondence trying to get a YES. Eventually my hard work and persistence paid off and I was granted permission and the go ahead to be the first student to EVER to do practice my social work training in the virtual setting at my University and I am confident to say that includes any other University in South Africa. I was allocated a supervisor from within the University to supervise my work. I believe my 2018 year achieved great things, working with people all around the world who were newly diagnosed with the Alpha Gal Syndrome.

Now going into my final year which is the 4th level or an honours level, I will once again be making history at UNISA and will be doing all my practicals and training in the virtual setting, once again working with people who have Alpha Gal from all over the world, again, this has never been done before in a University at this level and I am blessed with an opportunity to not only began this groundbreaking work in a South Africa University but also change lives at the same time. We are years behind as overseas telemental health is a common thing.


After completing my degree I will be Thandi House’s official social worker. (YIPPY). I also hope to do a masters in research, looking at how the ehealth/telemental health or simply put doing virtual reality social work can benefit people with rare conditions and people who are faced with a sudden crisis. Take for example we currently only have 125 people diagnosed with Alpha Gal in South Africa and they are all over, it’s impossible for them to meet for support. This research will also look at other rare conditions and support that patients can get from social workers through the means of virtual Social work / group work. I hope to take it as far as looking at things like rape crisis and trauma counseling in rural remote areas in South Africa where victims do not have access to services and help. The University that I wish to study at offers a full bursary for masters degree so money won't be a problem when it comes to doing my masters degree. I know I will get accepted as I already made contact with the Dean and they will look manly at my 4th level research mark which I did this year and obtained 83% for my final research project on teenage pregnancy.


Registrations open in January and I cannot afford the large deposit required for me to study and I am appealing for assistance with the deposit for the degree for January 2019 as well as the free for the Telemental health certification so that I can do my final year with extra skills. I am excited about my future and how I will be able to help so many people, thousands and thousands who suffer from rare conditions and feel isolated, or people faced with trauma and have no access to services……. when in fact help is just a click away.

My Christmas wish is for assistance to cover study fees. My financial inability can be verified and I am happy to produce proof we are financially unable to cover these fees. My husband and I have been running Thandi House for 9 years and are raising abandoned or abused child as our own, provided them with a family and love the deserve. I am willing to provide contact references should you wish.

My full tuition for 2019 is R23350.00 and I have to pay R7720.00 at registration or I cannot study this year. The telemental health certification is R5600.00 and it includes the exam fee and is a must for me to work in the virtual field of social work.

I have fought hard to get where I am, the girl with only a grade 8 that fought hard to get into university despite this, the only thing now standing in my way to finish is finances. I am so passionate about my studies and the potential of helping so many people from rural South Africa to across the ocean, people with rare conditions or those facing a sudden trauma can now seek the help and support they need.

Thank you for reading my Christmas wish - may you have a blessed christmas.

God Bless and Thank you

"Funds raised will be transferred into a charity account and donors will be issued with a tax certificate by the campaign creator*


  • Dec 29, 2018 - R 101.50
  • "Good luck" - Anonymous

  • Dec 29, 2018 - USD $ 78.88
  • "Keep doing good!" - J and A Smith

  • Dec 28, 2018 - USD $ 52.60
  • "So proud of you and what you do!" - Connie White

  • Dec 26, 2018 - USD $ 105.20
  • "Merry Christmas from an AG friend." - Sheila Beaudry

  • Dec 25, 2018 - R 1 015.00
  • "May your passion always sustain you ....don't forget to look after yourself as much as you do others" - Cheryl Narunsky

  • Dec 25, 2018 - USD $ 72.17
  • "I know you will succeed!" - Malin Lundén Schmid

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Donations to date

R 5 607.21

Fundraising target

R 13 320.00

Rene Morcom Study Cause

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Please help me afford the deposit to study my last year (4th level/Honours) of my Social Work Degree and Telemental Health Certification being the first ever student to address ehealth in the history of the University.

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