At some point during the last couple of weeks, probably during my leisurely weekend perusal of blogs, an initiative called Travel Bloggers Give Back entered my consciousness. The idea, from Bret Love of Green Global Travel , is to use a blog post to highlight the work of a charity which the blogger personally supports and wants to create awareness about. It is, after all, the season of goodwill. I have written about SOS Africa once before, but now, in the run-up to Christmas and as part of this project, it seems like a good time to catch up on this charity’s work.
What is SOS Africa?
SOS Africa is a small, volunteer-run charity which supports the education and care of underpriveleged children who live in townships in South Africa. Matt Crowcombe was a student on a gap year in South Africa when he met a school teacher called Henry Matthews. Henry introduced Matt to the reality of life in the Lonely Park township near Mafikeng, where children were lacking access to even a basic level of education. The charity was founded in January 2003 when Matt managed to get together enough money to send a young boy called Thabo to the primary school in Mafikeng.
Since then, this small-scale project is fully supporting the education and care of 12 children and has offices in the UK and South Africa. As well as sponsoring individual children, the charity also gets involved with related projects, such as the 2010 World Cup Project, which provided football equipment to schools in the poorest communities so that they could get involved with the celebrations and the sport.
Through the provision of a good education, SOS Africa is ensuring that these children have opportunities they would not otherwise have had. It is not about a quick-fix, it is a long-term investment to help these children become successful and help to lift their own communities out of poverty.
How can you help?
There are two main ways: the first is to sponsor a child and the second is to donate.
Sponsoring a child requires a financial commitment of £20 or £50 per month, but your money is guaranteed to go to the education and care of a specific child.
However, if you can’t make that kind of commitment, you can instead choose to make a one-off donation of any amount, to contribute towards school fees, uniform, stationery and after-school care. If you’re looking for a unique Christmas present for someone, you can even do this in the form of a gift voucher.
If you haven’t got your Christmas cards yet (UK readers only!), check out the gorgeous designs of the SOS Africa cards and see if you can resist buying them! They cost £2.50 for a pack of 5.
Finally, because of the charity’s commitment to only using the above sources of funding for the children’s education and care, there is a seperate appeal to raise money for a school bus. This will mean that the children can get from the township to their school safely and easily and in the long run, it will enable to charity to support more children. SOS Africa has been raising money for this appeal all year, and throughout this week, it is part of The Big Give project, meaning that any money you donate today and tomorrow between 10 and 11:30 a.m. GMT will be doubled, so it’s well worth it.
SOS Africa is doing something different. Its emphasis on long-term investment into the education of a future generation is not exactly an easy route for a charity to take, but it will create lasting change and will help communities to improve their own prospects.
I hope I have done them justice with this post and I will be pledging £20 to theschool bus appeal today. Maybe you will consider joining me with whatever amount you are able to.