Monday 19 January 2015

Want to climb a mountain/skydive for charity? Pay for it yourself

There are enough people living in Africa without the need for you to have to visit it to show the levels of poverty.

For 4 years I worked alongside some amazing volunteers, in a variety of projects, in townships, inner city and rural locations. Vulnerable children, orphans, people with disabilities. Fundraising, building schools, teaching, training, collecting and distributing donations. 

I gave my time, my fuel, my money, my energy. I raised funds, I asked people for donations. I collected 2nd hand clothes, pushchairs, bedding, mattresses, I asked friends to help me deliver larger items. I put people in touch with social workers, arranged job interviews, I took part in arts project in The Alaskan informal Settlement in Mamelodi, camping out for the night. Spent weeks begging for items to furnish for a school near Kruger National park then drove all the way there to drop the items off.

Yes, I asked my family and friends for money, but I gave them something in exchange. I spent days in a workshop for adults with disabilities learning to sew, threading beads, twisting wire to make items to sell to my family and friends. We made handbags, necklaces, key fobs, bunting.

I posted them to the UK, and with the money I was given, used it to repair equipment, buy arts and craft materials to enable the residents to make items to sell at their christmas market, their biggest source of income for the 140 bed home.

I wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but it was too expensive. I wanted to climb the mountain and blog and tweet about my experiences to raise money for sponsorship, but after looking into it, without a major sponsor behind me and without the social media coverage all I was going to do was raise equivalent to the cost of the trip, so instead of climbing the mountain I used the money on educational supplies.

Yes I sound bitter, Yes I am frustrated. I'm not jealous of you for being invited to Africa for a tiny glimpse of what it is like, I've lived and worked in that environment, my friends are doing it day in day out as volunteers, with no recognition and no reimbursements for their fuel, their time, their donations.

All I ask you to do is rather than give someone £5 to pay towards their trip to Africa or for their charity skydive or mountain climb give it to The Viva Foundation of South Africa to spend on education, feeding schemes, providing employment and training in their community. Support the work they do with families with AIDS, women and children who have been raped, orphaned children.
You can donate here.

They can provide you with a receipt, a photograph, a description of what they've used your money for and more importantly I guarantee every penny goes on that project.

You won't get recognition with hundreds of RTs, but you'll get a dam good blog post out of it and help to spread the real daily work that ordinary people do day to day and live amongst.

And when I next go out to South Africa, a place I called home for 4 years, at my own expense, I'll show you where your money was spent.


  1. I bloody we'll agree. Fund your own hobby! I never sponsor people to do these things but have given directly to the charity

    1. I'll still take what ever money is on offer though and even find a project that the donor wants to support

  2. WOW!!! Well said. Thank you. If cloning was legal I'd nominate you. Wish all volunteers were like you! Wish all fundraising was like yours. Viva and I thank you!!!

    1. wait for tomorrows rant, its about the importance of paying viva staff