According to Cool Dads Foundations, South Africa has a high prevalence of absent fathers In Africa, second to Namibia owed to colonisation.
Since the foundation’s inception in November 2013, it has aimed to engage with fathers in order to address issues of fatherhood and remind them of their fundamental responsibility towards their children.
The vision of the NPO is to grow extensively across South Africa and build a network of fathers with a passion for fatherhood, who will address the social difficulties concerning absent fathers, reinstate an image of a present father and dignity of fatherhood in societies.
Bongani Luvalo is the founder of the Cool Dads Foundation, born in Kwa Thema and a father to a beautiful daughter Loyiso. He is a businessman, philanthropist and a youth activist.
“A cool dad is a father that is present, not only responsible to his children’s needs but also those around him in need of a father figure”, says Bongani.
Cool Dads Foundation has partnered up with Hope for Africa Foundation in a Break the Silence Walk themed ‘Raising Awareness and Extending a helping hand’. The two foundations have some similarities in that they both protect children’s well-being’s by strengthening relationships among parents, community members, local organizations, schools, teachers, local government, and more.
A team of eight fathers and two women will take part in the walk – five will be from the Cool Dads Foundation and the remainder from Hope of Africa. The walk will start on August 29, 2022 and end September 13, 2022.
The route of commencement will be from Kwa-Thema, Springs in Ekurhuleni and will end in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. The walk intends to raise awareness and awaken men to stand firm against Gender Base Violence.
In addition, the walk seeks to mobilize resources to buy 100 000 school shoes for children who walk barefoot to school, to raise awareness on absent fathers and impact of their absence. It will also advocate for the rights of fathers who want access to their children.
“We plead with individuals to please donate R675.00 which is R1.00 for every kilometre we will walk or R200.00 that ensures at least one child gets a pair of school schools. We are also inviting and pleading with the private sector to support the campaign and donate school shoes,” Bongani appeals.
Arrangements have been made with School Lashushu, a manufacturer of school shoes. They are supporting the campaign by discounting their shoes from R250 to R200. Therefore, willing donors are urged to purchase through this manufacturer, but are not obliged to.
“The walk has been happening for the past 5 years under the Hope for Africa Foundation. We have been supporting them and we thought it’s fitting that we join the cause this year,” says Luvalo.
The initial purpose of the walk was to raise funds to buy school shoes for children that walk to school barefoot. According to Cool Dads Foundation, South Africa has more than 3.4 million children who don’t have proper uniform including school shoes; 9 million children are dependent on school nutrition program and just over 3 million children having only one meal a day, which is at school.
“This campaign will not make the biggest difference, but it would have tried to make a dent in the numbers in improving the lives of children born in poverty , with the hope to mobilize society to join hands in making a difference, Luvalo concludes.
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By Sandra Lesenyeho