Dr Elza Lourens has been part of the SciMathUS team for 21 years and her passion and love for what she does remains. She says: “Sometimes I think I learn more from my students than they do from me,” declares Elza, who has been part of the SciMathUS programme since its inception in 2001.
She backs up her statement: “I’ve learned from them how to navigate the hardships that life throws at you. To experience their grit and the work ethic that they show and develop during the year, despite the challenges that many face – such as a lack of food security and support from home – and the way that they handle it, is really humbling and inspiring. I learn from them daily and it is so rewarding. I have also learned so much from the different cultures they represent. I believe getting to know other people and their cultures makes you understand them and love them more.”
She says even her husband and children have been influenced by these students’ determination to overcome adversity.
“My kids are privileged but I have been able to expose them to what these students are going through and what it means to have nothing but still work hard and achieve and make something of your life. It has changed the way our entire family views diversity and the cultures of people in South Africa.”
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