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At a time of year when applications to a lot of bursary opportunities have already closed, the Islam Development Bank (IDB) Education Trust is still offering loan bursaries for first year Muslim South African students studying at South African universities in 2013.

The Careers Portal talks to Mr Amra, the IDB Education Trust’s chairperson, to find out more about the organisation and the loan bursaries it offers.

Today, the IDB Education Trust is a faith-based NGO operating in South Africa. However, the IDB as such was founded as an international financing institution in 1973 by the finance ministers at the first Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now called the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation or OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Its aim is to foster economic development and social progress.

From a macr perspective, the OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations. It has membership of 57 states spread over four continents and represents the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Eight years after the IDB was founded, the decision was taken to broaden the IDB’s reach to include minority communities in the developing world. This was done to address these communities’ marginalisation by promoting progress in science and technology is such areas, Amra tells. Thus the South African Scholarship Programme of the IDB Education Trust was launched in 1985 with the South African National Zakáh Fund (SANZAF) as counterpart organisation.

However, the IDB Education Trust’s move towards independence from the SANZAF started in 2009, and in March 2012 the Trust confirmed its dependence from the faith-based socio-welfare educational organisation, according to Amra.

The IDB Education Trust offers loan bursaries, free of interest, to students wanting to study in the fields of Agriculture, Communication & Media, Computer Science, Dentistry, Engineering (all), Fisheries, Food Technology, Forestry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health and Veterinary Science.

The loan bursaries are only for first year students, but can be renewed each year, and include tuition fees and monthly stipends.

After the student completes his or her studies, repayment starts over the same period it took to complete his or her course. For example, if you take 5 years to complete your specific course, you have 5 years to pay it back to the IDB Education Trust. These payments can be, in turn, used for new students.

Amra explains that the IDB Education Trust is funded by the IDB head office’s Endowment Fund, which, in turn, is replenished by the profits of the IDB Trust’s projects.

Once students graduate they become part of the IDB Education Trust’s association that aims to give back to the community. Amra explains that this takes place through community involvement in the form of leadership courses, community development initiatives and community outreach projects.

Not only will you be in a better position to make your dreams a reality with the assistance of an IDB Education Trust loan bursary, but you will also be giving back to the community by contributing to the greater good of humanity.

Applications for these loan bursaries close 31 January 2013. Apply today!

By Kat Potgieter

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