Onke Vulidobo Sitwayi founder of No One Left Behind non-profit organisation will embark on a walk with his advocate for change Aphendule Phakade, for 874km from Johannesburg to Mthatha in 27 days to raise awareness and funds of about a R1 million to build a pre-school in the Eastern Cape.
Born in Mthatha and raised in a small village of Xhora, Buccleuch resident Onke felt passionate about seeing children receive foundational education. “I never went to preschool because there was not enough space and facilities for early childhood development to take place”, added Sitwayi. They will walk an average of 50km a day, sleeping in a tent and planting trees along the way.
The pair believes empowering future generations begins with happy and healthy children. Starting the walk on the 15th Jan 2021, the day former president Nelson Mandela was released from prison, the number 27 is very significant to the pair and the country as a whole, because of the amount of years former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.
This journey relies on every child having access to quality health care, good nutrition, education and growing up in a safe environment free from violence and the deprivation of basic human rights. Currently, the pair is sponsored by Isuzu South Africa with an SUV Mu-X car for the trip, Cell C and Huawei also rose to the occasion and donated 2 tablets and some sim cards to keep their stakeholders updated while on the road. Feral foods sponsored some superfoods to keep their bodies hydrated and filled with nutrition throughout the journey.
Over the last 8 months, children have been further compromised and are at risk of being left behind. School closures in 2020 have severely impacted South African children’s basic right to education and Covid-19 restrictions have exposed problems across the education landscape. This will further compromise the long-term future of our country.
We envision a world where the youth are taught that rights come with responsibilities, a world where they can walk the earth without the fear of being a statistic. There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.
Residents and other stakeholders are encouraged to support the initiative by pledging funds, their time and resources to reach the financial objective of R1 million and resources to build the pre-school.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to find out more about sponsorships and pledges, alternatively follow @Dreamoutloudsa on Instagram.
Article by Hlengiwe Lesedi
Cover image by Makaziwe Radebe