What can we do as South Africans as we see our country plagued by poverty and HIV/AIDS each day?
For a long time I had no idea of how I could make a difference in this beautiful country. Every traffic light I stopped at, there was someone begging for food or money, while driving or walking around he cities I saw street kids begging for someone to help them each day, I heard many stories of people dying of AIDS everyday. As many other South Africans, I didn't do much to help because the plight was too large and I could not make a large enough impact to the widespread issue by helping someone who was suffering. If I gave one begger R2, that would not help sustain him and there would be so many more. I always felt so overwhelmed by my inability to make a difference in the lives of people suffering from poverty and HIV/AIDS in my home country.
I moved to USA last year, to a place where one is not confronted with the sadness and desparation of of extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS each day. It's easy to forget about what it's like back home in South Africa as I settled in to my life in USA, so far away from my homeland and all it's problems... After living here in the US for about 7 months, I was faced with the opportunity to take action to help people suffering from poverty and HIV/AIDS back home in Africa.
After about 7 months of living in the US, I went to my first concert of my favorite band, who started out as a bubblegum pop group in the 1990's and have since turned indie rock. Besides the excitement of seeing them live for the first time after listening to their music for 12 years, something else really excited me - an amazing part of their concert experience, which takes place a few hours before each of their concerts. It's called "The Walk".
"The Walk" is an initiative by an American indie-rock band, that hail from middle America, to take action to fight poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa. I was amazed and so deeply touched that people from so far away were moved by their experiences on their visit to South Africa and decided to step up and take action and to make a difference in this world and specifically in the beautiful South Africa! The band witnessed the extreme poverty and results of HIV/AIDS and decided to take action and make a difference. They set up a charity called "Take The Walk" which has five causes to help fight poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa and Africa. "The Walk" was born - a 1-mile walk (barefoot encouraged) whereby $1 will be donated by the band on behalf of each person that walks. The $1 per walker goes to one of the five causes. So this simple concept, to take simple actions such as taking a 1-mile (1.6km) walk, can help make a difference in Africa.
I was so overwhelmed and moved by seeing people from US and all over the world taking the walk to help people suffering in South Africa. Most of the people who take the walk have never witnessed extreme poverty or the results of HIV/AIDS first hand and yet they were inspired to walk for people so far away that were suffering. People showed up to take "The Walk" before the band's concerts and then started hosting their own independent walks.
This inspired me to take "The Walk" to South Africa. To take it back home, full circle. It would be so amazing to have South Africans take action and make a difference for their fellow South African in need.
So, "The Walk" will be coming to South Africa in August 2009! There will be one walk for each of the five causes:
1. DOCVIA - SMS Credits for Healthcare
2. HIVSA/ The Perinatal HIV Research Unit
3. Toms Shoes
4. Building Schools
5. Drilling Water Wells
The cities which "The Walk" will take place is Soweto, Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. All one needs to do is show up, have fun, walk 1 mile and make a difference. All the walks are free to attend and for each walker, $1 will be donated by the band to the cause walked for. So more walkers = more $$$ to support the fight against poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa!
Spread the word! Make a difference! Take Action against poverty and HIV/AIDS in South Africa! Take The Walk!
Soweto - 1 August 2009
Durban - 9 August 2009
Cape Town - 15 August 2009
Pretoria - 22 August 2009
Johannesburg - 23 August 2009
For locations and further event details check out: www.takethewalk.net/site/takethewalk/walk/list
Spread the word and tell your friends and family!
Hope to see you all there taking action and taking the walk for South Africa!