The 1,000,000 Footprints to save Africa campaign by Jax Bath (16 years old)
Footprints are typically used to represent a journey or part thereof. Each footprint is unique to its owner and has the ability to alter the course of one’s journey drastically. The most amazing thing about footprints is their ability to leave an everlasting mark on the lives of those we meet on our path.
The official pilot for our campaign took place on the 23 of July. Completely unsure of what to expect we piled into our Toyota Quantum and set off to find the first school. We soon learned that our journey would be filled with potholes (both the literal and figurative kind) as we continued towards what could best be described as in the middle of nowhere. All of our presentations began in a similar fashion. We would be greeted by a handful of enthusiastic teachers and a few curious students after which we would attempt to set up our presentation. Setting up was almost always a challenge as many of the schools did not have screens available to us. Luckily, a plan was always made and we managed to present with only a few minor hiccups. Working with the all the children was both a challenge and a blessing, with some being incredibly responsive while others were more boisterous and uncooperative. The most amazing part of the entire experience was the way the kids came alive when we would sing and clap together, the energy levels were unbelievable and the atmosphere was electric.
Upon visiting the schools we learnt a lot about the challenges they face. The majority of the schools we visited operated on a “make do with what we have” policy with many of them still lacking the infrastructure for technology based teaching, running water and decent cooking facilities. Many of our presentations were done with the absence of microphones under corrugated iron structures which made it difficult to capture the attention of all the learners. It is truly amazing how these teachers manage to get by without everything we take advantage of everyday. If you guys are reading this you have my utmost respect…you guys are awesome!!
On the Saturday morning we took 18 children into Kruger with us. This was an awesome experience with all the kids being eager to learn about the animals. We were lucky enough to have 2 separate rhino sightings and even though they were a little far off the road the kids enjoyed it just the same. After a successful game drive we had lunch with the kids and were able to speak to them a little about their experience and future plans. We were blessed to be able to spend the day with such a passionate group of kids. They were the kind of children that give you hope for the future and I sincerely hope that we would be able to inspire the same passion within the other lives we hope to touch.
My greatest wish for this campaign is that it reignites our children’s passion for our beautiful continent and her animals. I hope that we inspire passion within the hearts of these kid. I want them to know that they can be the change. I want them to know that Africa belongs to them and that it’s up to them to save their heritage.