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The trust selects up to two pupils each year; a girl and a boy in their final year of study from the Good Shepherd Primary School, a state school which provides a quality primary education for children from low income Xhosa speaking township households in the Grahamstown location. The Good Shepherd Primary School is administered by St Andrew’s College as part of its community outreach programme. Harry Birrell scholarships for talented children at Good Shepherd are aimed at supporting and enhancing this programme by one of South Africa’s finest schools. Pupils will attend one of four schools in Grahamstown as Harry Birrell Scholars: St Andrew’s College; Diocesan School for Girls; Victoria Girls' High School and Graeme College. All have long established educational, cultural and sporting traditions.

"When I was in grade 7, I was awarded a Harry Birrell bursary to study at Victoria Girls’ High School... and today I am proud to share with you all that in a few weeks time, I will be taking my first step towards obtaining a Law degree at Rhodes University."

Abenathi Gqomo, Harry Birrell Scholar (December 2012)

Financial need and suitable aptitude are the criteria for awarding the scholarships. The goal is to provide a first class educational start in life for children who would not get this opportunity without our support.

Fees for good secondary education start from Rand equivalent of £1000 compared to the Rand equivalent of £30 a parent would pay for a child to get a good primary education at the Good Shepherd school.

The Trust will pay £1000 annually towards a scholar’s education, with the Trust’s immediate goal to have 10 Harry Birrell Scholars in secondary school at one time, that is, two children in each academic year. 

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HBST tea 1a
Simphiwe Zondani

Some of our scholars

In addition to scholarships the Trust each year sponsors a President’s Award Scheme “Outdoor Event”.  Pupils in their last year at the Good Shepherd School are given the opportunity to take part in a trek to a farm 20 kilometers outside of Grahamstown, where they then set up a campsite, play adventure games and participate in night time observations over 4 days, in a programme greatly aided by the involvement of St Andrew's College boys in its planning and preparation. For the majority of the children this is their first experience of the African bush.

There are many more talented pupils and with the ongoing support of the friends of the Trust we can continue to play a part in sustaining the future of South Africa, and the wider African continent. 


Learn more about the Good Shepherd School and education in the Eastern Cape in this short video.


The Harry Birrell Scholarship Trust was established in 1996, with the aim to provide access to top rated South African schools, for talented scholars who could otherwise not afford such an education. So far we have provided scholarships for over 50 pupils. 


Our ambition is to be part of fostering the next generation of South African leadership, through access to an internationally recognized liberal arts education. 

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