Walking 6 000 kilometres to provide crucial care for vulnerable children

 
 
 

Tom David and Warren Handley knew they were taking a risk. They put their lives on hold – work, family, and friends – to embark on a treacherous journey. First, the pair took on the gruelling challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. After their descent, they pushed themselves even further and walked the 6 000 kilometres back to South Africa, passing through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. For six months, they trekked entirely on foot, choosing to survive off R25 a day. That’s the average amount people on the global poverty line live on. David and Handley were committed to making a statement to change lives.

The men set off on their great trek to raise funds for early childhood development. According to UNICEF, over three million children are orphaned or vulnerable in South Africa. The formative years of a child’s life are vital to their futures. But these children often don’t have access to education or healthcare, and are at risk of abuse and neglect. The desire to change that motivated David and Handley when the journey got tough. On their expedition, the friends faced exhaustion, illness, and pain. While they struggled through difficult times, they never lost sight of their purpose. “The real challenge wasn’t really the walk itself,” David says. “The real challenge was seeing how crucial this cause really was.”

Along the way, they made stops at schools and villages to present talks and make toys from recycled materials for children living in disadvantaged communities. In times of need many people offered care and encouragement to the two walkers. “It is so contradictory to experience such warmth and kindness when tackling such real issues,” Handley says. Through their efforts, David and Handley managed to raise R400 000 for Aluwani, an organisation that cares for 3 500 children in Limpopo. Our youth are our future, and we must do everything possible to help those who are most vulnerable. “Doing something like this shows that an everyday person can really make a difference,” David says. These two men are determined to create a more equal society. While we’re not all going to walk 6 000 kilometres for a cause, we can always try go the extra mile for others.