The Walk for Freedom Day™ is an annual initiative by a group of small charities working with young people and children in South and Southern Africa.
Inspired by Nelson Mandela, the Walk for Freedom Day recalls both the first day of democratic elections on 27 April 1994, and the 27 years Nelson Mandela spent in prison for his beliefs to achieve a non-racial and democratic South Africa. Now that Nelson Mandela has passed away, this initiative gives us the chance to remember his extraordinary contribution to peace-building in the world at large, and to get together with friends, colleagues and neighbours, once a year, to continue his legacy in our own communities.
The first Walk for Freedom events took place in London and Gloucestershire in 2013. This year we will be organising Walks again, in London and Gloucester; and for the first time, in Johannesburg. A Walk for Freedom can happen anywhere where people would like to come together to make a symbolic gesture and a practical contribution to work with children and young people in the region.
By walking a route comprising multiples of 2.7 miles with your companions, you help raise funds and awareness for projects which help young people and children have the freedom to thrive – through education and skills, human rights and protection from harm,
The Walk for Freedom Day is a simple, social and sustainable way of helping thousands of young people and children who need schooling, skills and safeguarding in order to achieve their own dreams of a positive future. Our partners promote human rights, peace and education alongside development to overcome ongoing poverty which affects the most vulnerable people.
The ASHA Centre (UK charity number 1058320) is the UK host organisation for the Walk for Freedom Day. In the photograph above, unemployed youth on a Huddleston Centre programme in Sophiatown enjoy the fruits from the ASHA Garden during their exchange visit which offered leadership training, cultural experiences, and work experience. This project resulted in all of the participants securing work during 2012 because of their new skills and experience.
2014 sees the 20th anniversary of democratic elections, and so we especially invite everyone who was part of that movement to get involved in this anniversary year to celebrate a triumph of international solidarity. In South Africa the first Walk for Freedom Day event will be in Johannesburg (for more info: www.trevorhuddleston.org). We specially welcome young people to get involved and engage with your peers to create a more peaceful and just world through international partnerships and exchanges. Makhomo Tsepa from Lesotho will be part of the Gloucester Walk and talking about her own journey to freedom made possible by Nelson Mandela, who she met in 2009.
The Walk for Freedom Day partners are:
Action for Southern Africa www.actsa.org
The ASHA Centre (www.ashacentre.org)
Borien Educational Foundation (www.befsa.org)
Jo’burg Child Welfare (www,jhbchildwelfare.org.za)
The Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre (www.trevorhuddleston.org)
Photo: ACTSA’s work supporting local organisations to ensure children orphaned by HIV-AIDS can stay together
How does Walk for Freedom Day (WFFD) work?
2014 is the second year of the Walk. We will be walking in London, in Wimbledon Park, on Sunday 27 April 2014 again, and in Gloucester. In Wimbledon Park, we walk one or more circuits of the Park – each circuit is 2.7 miles. In Gloucester the walk will be hosted by the ASHA Centre and includes stops at a number of heritage sites concluding at the cultural hub in the town centre.
Wheelchair users are welcome to participate, if you have a person who can assist you. We will provide an adapted route at Wimbledon Park (avoiding the steps) and will contact you personally if you email us with your questions about the routes. You are also very welcome to help us on the day instead of ‘wheeling’ for instance on our registration desks.
Children and children in pushchairs are also welcome. In Wimbledon Park we plan a mini-walk for toddlers. Contact us for more information.
Journalist and newscaster Jon Snow added his support for the WFFD initiative, saying “Here’s a really easy and sustainable way to help grassroots work in South Africa. Through the work of the Borien Educational Foundation, I see the critical role education plays in improving lives. I know that if we train young people to gain relevant skills they can create their own opportunities for change and encourage each other to shape their future in ways which are meaningful to them’.
You sign up to walk either of these routes, and pay £10 through our Just Giving account for every adult who wants to take part, and £5 for under 18’s. We send you all the details of whichever WFFD route you choose, and you turn up and walk with your friends, family or colleagues, and enjoy the spring weather, music, picnic, and even a game of beach volleyball at the Wimbledon walk!
Or you can organise your own Walk - just contact us for help and information on doing that. Everyone who is walking and donating can do it centrally through this website.
Beneficiaries of funds raised on the day, and throughout the WFFD initiative, will be young people based in communities across South and Southern Africa. WFFD is a partnership of five organisations which are already implementing projects making real impact, promoting sustainable development and building local knowledge so that people can create opportunities for themselves and their communities. See more about this on our Partners page Click here
Our partners are concerned with building safe communities, protecting human rights and developing potential through education and training, and have come together to work in collaboration, rather than competition, to maximise the impact we can make together. We call this an ‘Ubuntu’ model. This means ways of working which are rooted in the common good – people, planet and profit working in a virtuous circle in a sustainable way.
WFFD is a non-profit initiative and has no office or staff costs – all the events are undertaken by volunteers so that all of your donations go to where they are most needed.
The Walk for Freedom Day initiative is governed by UK charity law and offers a secure way to give a gift to make a lasting difference, changing the lives of children and young people, every day. Join up to Walk here OR make a donation online, instead of walking!