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Azhar Vadi | 30 April 2019

In the middle of March 2019, well known community activist Moonibah Bhyat contacted Salaamedia about a possible meeting with a group of hikers planning to summit to Everest base Camp.

“This will be a great opportunity to compound the goodness of their hard work and use it to make a difference in the lives of school children,” she said.

A few days later and a short meeting at Johannesburg coffee shop, the deal was done. Bokkie Coovadia and his team of 19 hikers and climbers agreed to be part of the #Climbing4SAeducation campaign. A target was set of raising R100 000 to purchase 1000 pairs of school shoes.

The hikers were prepared and soon departed to Nepal, on their way to the starting point of this amazing test of body and mind. Along with the stress of making it to 5380m climbing point, they now had they additional responsibility of seeking the funding to ensure a successful project.

Bokkie Coovadia and team #Climbing4SAeducation

I recall the first few days of the climb. Social media messages were sent out, Instagram was buzzing with likes for team and WhatsApps were being shared frantically to friends and family asking them to support the respective climbers they knew.

Everything was moving so fast, yet the bank account remained bone dry with just one or two deposits reflecting.  And then suddenly, as if someone opened a tap, the contributions in all sorts of amounts began streaming in. People known and unknown joined in and quite soon, the target of R100 000 was reached and surpassed.

Today, 30 April 2019, marks the official close of the campaign and the total now sits at R136 400, far exceeding what was initially set. A few more deposits are expected and as soon as they are in a final tally will be given.

Uncle Bokkie upon his return during his on air report back on Salaamedia was ecstatic. Despite the initial apprehension he said, this project with Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation, has proven to be a benchmark for future collaboration and community work.

In terms of the  shoes, the schools and learners will now be identified and the real work begins. We look forward to moving ahead in the support of South African education.

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