A message from Thabang

Dear Roadies,

If you’ve become a part of The Lonely Road Foundation crew and joined us on our ‘road’, by way of donations, volunteerism or partnerships, then you’re a Roadie! And we thank you for your support. If you haven’t yet become a Roadie, we look forward to welcoming you on our journey soon!

As I reflect on my own journey since embarking on The Lonely Road Challenge, I can say that my life has been changed irreversibly. The cycle and the climb were just the beginning of what now must be a lifetime pursuit. Looking back on the past year and on the long, lonely road behind the Foundation, we recall the many moments of great joy and intense suffering that we have been witness to. Yet we turn to the horizon ahead of us and open our hearts and minds to the hope that the future holds. Thank you for being part of our passion and making it possible for orphans and vulnerable children to feel our presence in their communities…so that their road may be made a little less lonely.

South Africans have also faced a challenging road over the past year with the political, social, economic and environmental climates changing dramatically. These potentially adverse conditions are not set to abate any time soon and we must all plan for these eventualities. As Baden Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts movement, would tell us: Be Prepared! Sound advice, wouldn’t you think?

But how should a 13-year old girl in a child-headed household prepare her family for what has happened and what is still to come? Should she tell her young siblings that they’ll have to leave school for lack of funds to cover school fees and uniforms? That they’ll struggle to have enough food to eat and that they’re going to be very cold during winter this year? Maybe she’ll tell them there is unlikely to be any money for transportation or for improvements to their meagre house? Should she assure them that this is just for a short while and that things will get better?; they may only have to live like this for the next few years until she’s old enough to earn a living – and until they’re old enough to be left alone? These are just a glimpse of the realities that face our orphans and vulnerable children every single day – with or without a global economic crisis.

Over the past year, The Lonely Road Foundation has focused on providing basic necessities to children faced with such issues. They need food, clothing, someone to care for their younger siblings so they can go to school, and above all, love and care. Over the past year, we’ve become aware of the shortcomings that lie in creating a dependency for survival…so we have focused on empowering the community to help themselves – and recognise their role in helping each other. With your support, we’ve made huge strides in this respect in the Ga-Dikgale community, where they are proving that “it takes a village to raise a child”. It is they who have responded enthusiastically and they who have had to run the hard yards. We are only the spectators offering words of encouragement and sharing a drink or two to sustain them on their long journey.

With 11 Drop-In-Centres and 130 caregivers, Ga-Dikgale has been well positioned to provide much needed food, care and assistance to the most needy of children in their community. More than 2000 needy children in Ga-Dikgale have gained access to food and care because of the efforts of these caregivers and because of your generosity. To reach this point in such a short period of time is credited to the community taking responsibility. We need to reward them for this commitment by showing them we care and in turn those 2000 lives can become 10,000!”

Now that we have established this foundation, we have assessed the needs moving forward and looked at ways to ensure the Drop-In-Centres are given the best opportunities to provide for themselves. But our work there is far from finished. We are also looking forward to expanding our work in another community very soon. For all of this, we will be requesting more assistance over time so that we can continue supporting Ga-Dikgale and other communities like it.

We ask you to dig deep and find it within yourself to share your time, resources and privilege with others, even through difficult times….and to continue travelling with us down a road that we hope will bring life and hope to South Africa’s orphans and vulnerable children.

Thabang

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