Alone in the world and left to raise himself for more than a year, Luke Smith, 18, has officially been enrolled for business management studies at the College of Cape Town after The Angel Network funded his fees for an entire year.
The story of the shy teen’s struggles went viral on social media after neighbours told the Daily Voice that he had been baking and selling biscuits to get by.
Despite losing his mom at seven years of age and later being abandoned by his father, the Grade 12 pupil from Rylands High School persevered as he pursued his passion for business and baking.
For most of his life, he was raised by his ouma, Rachel Petersen, 70, but when she died in an accident in November 2018, Luke decided to live alone in his ouma’s Heideveld house and fend for himself himself using just R2500 he received from a trust fund.
In January, Luke matriculated with a Bachelor’s Pass, but he revealed he did not have the funds to attend a tertiary institution.
That is when Melanie Levy and Dalia Katz, board members for the Cape Town branch of The Angel Network, were approached by one of the volunteers who showed them Luke’s story in the Daily Voice.
“We met with him and he told us he really wants to be a baker, but knows he needs a business qualification first, so we have donated the fees for the first year which includes his textbooks,” says Melanie.
“He is very shy but has an amazing story of the human spirit and perseverance.”
Luke says last week he walked onto the Crawford campus for the first time and it felt like heaven.
“I started with orientation last week and so far it is going well. I never expected to go viral. I never expected any of this but I am very happy,” the teen says.
Melanie says Capetonians can continue to support Luke by donating to the non-profit organisation so they can assist him in turn.
“He won’t just be studying for one year so people can log onto our Facebook page and they can donate,” she adds.