Young activists walk for disabled youth

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Youth-led non-profit organisation, Enabling Disability Education Nationally (EDEN), is preparing for the second edition of its Walk For Youth Disability Education (#Walk4YDE19), a charity campaign for the benefit of South African youth with disabilities. For 15 days of the Youth Month, the organisation’s co-founders, Omphile Mangwagape, Dennis Tolo and Samuel Modise will be accompanied by associates as they walk a 1643KM distance from Durban to Cape Town.

Scheduled to begin on the eve of Youth Day, the 15th of June, and finish on the 29th of June, the Walk aims at raising investment for inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for youth with disabilities in South Africa. ”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 encourage hope for people living with mental and physical challenges by helping them gain access to education,” says Mangwagape, Managing Partner of EDEN.

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.

In 2017 the group walked 600KM from Tshwane to Durban over 16 days and collected over R170 000 in cash and resources. A large portion of the 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 and the organisers are hoping for an excellent turn out.

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 our favour. For some of us even completing a standard academic schedule is a struggle, physically, financially and, in some cases, mentally,” he says.

The Walk will commence from ACTIVATE! Change Drivers’ offices in Essenwood, Durban 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. All proceeds of the Walk will fund the education and training of selected youth with disabilities across the country.

“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,” explains Mangwagape.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact Samuel Modise on 081 705 8251 or email sammy75modise@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can fund the initiative through crowdfunding on https://www.thundafund.com:443/project/edenationally

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