Durban - Saturday morning will see the start of an epic 1643 km walk from Durban to Cape Town by a group of young people to raise funds for youth disability education.
Three core members of the group are Omphile Mangwagape, Dennis Tolo and Samuel Modise, co-founders of the youth-led non-profit organisation, Enabling Disability Education Nationally (EDEN), a charity for South African youth with disabilities.
It is the organisation's second such walk, one in 2017 having been 600km from Tshwane to Durban, raising more than R170 000.
The latest walkers are scheduled to end their journey on June 29.
"The biggest challenge facing South African people with disabilities is limited access to education followed by unemployment and then access to appropriate healthcare. Through this walk, we seek to give hope for people living with mental and physical challenges by helping them gain access to education,” said Mangwagape.
EDEN is dedicated to finding poverty-reduction solutions for young people living with disabilities, with a key focus on education. The organisation is a member of the ACTIVATE! Change Drivers, a network of young change makers across South Africa who are finding innovative ways to transform their communities and the country as a whole.
A large portion of the 2017 proceeds was donated to the Transoranje School for the Deaf in Tshwane and the Fanang Diatla Centre for the Disabled in Temba. Some of the funds were ploughed back into the campaign. This year’s walk is the continuation of the previous one.
Mangwagape, who has a mild cognitive impairment, says #Walk4YDE19, is a campaign not only to raise funds but also a tool to create awareness of the challenges facing young people with disabilities.
“Young people with disabilities are often excluded from the mainstream society due to their limited access to the physical environment including public transportation, education and other facilities. At most times the universal design living arrangements work against us. For some of us even completing a standard academic schedule is a struggle, physically, financially, and, in some cases, mentally,” he said.
The walk will start at the ACTIVATE! offices on the Berea and finish at the organisation’s Cape Town branch in Muizenberg.
The group will walk for up to eight hours per day, covering 60 to 90 km. The aim is to collect funds for each kilometer walked.
“We are looking to empower and enable access to quality education for over 1000 young people with varying degrees of disabilities from different parts of South Africa. The funds will be distributed via our various beneficiaries and collaborators Fanang Diatlala Centre for the Disabled, Kusasa Lethu Trust and others,” said Mangwagape.