Pilgrim with a purpose making a difference one step at a time
Melanie Burke, the Chairman of StreetSmart SA, is undertaking a 120 km pilgrimage on the Camino Francés in Northern Spain this month, in an effort to raise awareness and R50 000 for the upliftment of homeless children in South Africa.
Melanie has lived between South Africa and Spain for the past 5 years. It was also 5 years ago that Fuad Peters of CapeTourism Connect introduced her to Gabrielle Andrews who founded Cape Camino with her daughter, Peggy.
When the three women met over a cup of tea, the connection was immediate and Melanie agreed to do an annual StreetSmart Pilgrimage in Cape Town in collaboration with Cape Camino. This was the beginning of Melanie’s love for putting one foot in front of the other while enjoying the majestic beauty of the Cape and stilling her mind through the connection with nature. This experience, and an invitation from a friend, inspired her to walk 120km of the Camino Francés pilgrim route from Logroño to Burgos, in Northern Spain, in June this year.
“Having only ever walked two days at a time before, a week-long hike sounds like a scary challenge, but an achievable one too. Being away from home and work commitments will give me the time to decompress and follow my thoughts wherever they want to go, something I have not made time to do recently. I expect the physical and mental requirements may be difficult for me so I hope that the simple rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other will focus me,” says Melanie.
This fundraising walk is unsponsored and all costs are borne by Melanie. Donations towards this fundraiser can be made via EFT, PayFast and SnapScan on the StreetSmart website: www.streetsmartsa.org.za. Look out for this StreetSmart fundraiser on media campaigns.
StreetSmart celebrates its 14th birthday in June and Melanie’s walk to raise funds, is a great way to get people to support the cause financially. To date the organisation and its partners have raised more than R17million in support of education, skills development and family reunification programmes for street children and children at risk of becoming street children.
All the money raised by StreetSmart fundraising partners, goes directly to the organisations that do the work with these vulnerable children.
“In order to keep StreetSmart SA running, we need to raise funds for administration,” adds Melanie, a founding director of StreetSmart SA and a social entrepreneur who has been leading cross-sector change in several areas such as community safety, education, leadership, equality, diversity and inclusion.
There are currently around 105 establishments that have embraced StreetSmart’s vision to make a real difference to the lives of street children or children at risk of living on the streets. Funds are raised by adding a R5 donation to each patron’s bill. This donation is voluntary and donors are able to contribute more if they wish to. With this generous gesture, StreetSmart establishments and their guests are making a real difference to the lives of vulnerable and street children in their local communities.
StreetSmart SA was set up in 2005 by a group of concerned Capetonians under the patronage of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and comprises resourceful board members representing business, and the hospitality and tourism industries. Similar StreetSmart organisations also run independently in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and The Netherlands.
StreetSmart SA is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation as well as a Non-profit Organisation and ensures that every cent donated by guests goes towards social and educational upliftment projects for street children. StreetSmart’s goal is to be part of the process of social normalisation and to encourage the public not to give money into the hands of a child as this keeps them on the streets. In essence, donating to StreetSmart where you eat, drink and sleep is the responsible way to help a street child.
For more information or to make a donation, contact StreetSmart SA at Tel: 021 447 3227 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.streetsmartsa.org.za.