A group of university students are making their way from Durban to Pretoria on foot in the hope of raising over a million rand which will assist struggling students with registration and accommodation fees as well as cooked meals.
Walk4Access, consisting of individuals from different institutions, began their walk on May 4 at Durban Girls’ High and expect to arrive at Pretoria High School for Girls on May 12. They encourage servant leadership, positive activism, and to girls in particular, the importance of access to higher education.
The group, from North West University and the University of Pretoria, reached Harrismith yesterday, but took a day’s rest due to fatigue and injuries. Today they will tackle the next mission to walk more than 200km to Heidelberg.
Thand’Olwethu Dlanga, #Walk4Access chairperson, said the journey was not what they had expected, but a few highlights made their sacrifice worthwhile.
“We were received with a guard of honour at Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School, a beautiful reception by staff members at Hilton College and a hospitable old couple accommodated us in Harrismith, when we did not know where we were going to sleep on Friday night.
“We walk from sunrise to sunset,” he said.
Last year the group walked from Pretoria to Cape Town to assist 10 students with registration difficulties, and three without accommodation also benefited from the R100 000 they raised. The funds also provided an additional 7 000 cooked meals for students.
“We are hoping to raise over R1 million. If 50 000 people donate R21 each, we could reach our target with ease. The number of students who will benefit depends on the amount received during the walk,” said Dlanga.
He explained that their food and accommodation while on their journey depended on the goodwill of the people and that a few good Samaritans from Harrismith, Estcourt and Pietermaritzburg had already assisted along the way.
Dlanga said activities planned over the coming days included handing out small packages to mothers today, in appreciation for their efforts to ensure their children have an opportunity to attend university. On their last day of the journey the group will host an event.
“Emotionally, everyone is strong, but we have had about three injuries, hence the need for a day's rest so that the injured could recover,” said Dlanga, who was optimistic about the goals they had set.