In South Africa, there are over 7 million children who have never owned or worn a pair of brand new school shoes. These children have become accustomed to walking barefoot across rough African terrain. But in an ideal world, every child should have a pair of shoes to protect them from having to walk barefoot across thorny ground or hot tar…
“You just have to get in your car and turn the key to travel into Africa.”
Those were Kingsley Holgate’s words to me, and it really is that simple. People are often afraid to travel through Africa, completely unaware of the vastness and beauty that lies beyond what they’ve seen on TV.
I started Blue Sky Society Trust in 2012 to raise funds for humanitarian and conservation projects around Africa, and started taking people with me on expeditions, to share my passion and open people’s hearts and minds to what Africa has to offer.
With Kingsley Holgate as a mentor, I learned how to keep a sense of humour when travelling through border posts or road blocks, as well as why you should avoid travelling in the dark (animals tend to migrate to the road for warmth). Along with the tricks of the trade, he also taught me to slow down and enjoy the experience.
So in 2016, I led the Elephant Ignite Expedition, travelling 15,787km over 100 days, through 10 countries (South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya) – proving that an all-female expedition could safely travel through Africa.
It was incredible to see the life-changing effect that the journey had on people. Africa gets under your skin…into your soul. And I realised that I wanted to share this with more people, to share the life-changing experience of adventure and travel combined with hands-on work that makes a difference in the world.
Adventure + Travel + Making a Difference
The purpose of the Elephant Ignite Expedition was to raise awareness and funds for elephants to fight the ongoing elephant poaching crisis, and in 100 days, we visited 37 different wildlife organisations doing incredible work, and donated over R400,000 to six elephant projects where we met the teams on the ground, and saw first-hand the wonderful work that they’re doing.
And now in March 2018, I’ll be leading the Journeys With Purpose expedition through remote parts of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, taking a limited number of people to some extraordinary places and conservation projects.
Every expedition is once-off; never to be repeated. It’s not for everyone though – it’s a fundraising initiative so you might have to get your hands dirty, help paint a school, or build a beehive fence. But it is a unique experience – sitting under the African sky, taking in the sunset and stars, cooking over a campfire, and listening to hyena cry in the night alongside the call of jackals…
Don’t miss out
If a 4×4 self-drive adventure gets your heart going, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to journey with purpose. We’ll be collaring elephants, visiting Tuli Wilderness Camp and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, canoeing at Mana Pools, and taking in a few world heritage sites along the way…
Contact Carla Geyser on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
* Originally published by Embark on a journey with purpose through Africa
For most western children, a pair of shoes is not a luxury, and they grow up accustomed to having many pairs of shoes. The essence of the Soul 2 Sole project is to provide a pair of shoes to as many underprivileged children as possible.
This small gesture can make a profound impact on the dignity of the child, and also give them hope for the future. The Soul 2 Sole project works to connect individuals and groups with underprivileged schools to provide footwear, funds, or other resources needed by the school and its community.
On 29 January 2016, our teams arrived to an excited buzz of energy at Matabetulu Primary School in Inanda by the Shembe village, Ebuhleni. Over 288 school pupils were on their tiptoes, awaiting the first glimpse of their shiny new shoes.
The children of Matabetulu Primary School received:
290 pairs of school shoes
290 units of Lion Match shoe polish
290 string bags
Educational toys for Grade R pupils
Upon arrival, the team received a warm welcome from pupils, teachers and parents alike, with the children bursting into song, filling the air with a sense of excitement. The proceedings of the day started off with a welcome from the Deputy Principal, a poem read by two students, and a prayer from one of the parents. It was very humbling to see how such a poor community can be so appreciative.
“Thank you very much to Blue Sky Society Trust and Lion Match Group for the gift they have given to our children. It is very rare for us to receive gifts such as these. We are a very poor school and 50% of our children are orphans. Thank you very much, and our only wish is that one-day we can do as you have done to another school. Thank you for everything.” – Principle Simon Gugu Mqadi