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Monday, 5 March 2018

My Fundraising Experience: Walking 20 Miles for THANDA UK

                                        Hello there you beautiful beings of the blog-o-sphere!

Today's post is all about FUNDRAISING! Earlier, this year, I decided that I would start to educate myself more, on the different charities that are available both here in the UK, but also worldwide. I want to actively make more of an effort to give back to the community, and of course, there's always a little something in it, that makes you feel good as well (look I never said I was a saint !)

Last year, back in good old Norwich, I spent some time volunteering for a Mental Health Befriending Scheme for the NHS. This year I started off 2018 by qualifying as a weekend volunteer for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital- which is already proving to be extremely rewarding and fun! 

A few weeks back, I received a message from one of my good friends, asking if I could make a donation for a 20 mile walk that she was doing, along the Thames Path. All of the proceeds from the walk were being given to a charity known as: THANDA UK. Soon after sending my donation through, I thought to myself, "Why are you only making a donation, when you could actually join in and do the charity walk as well". So that's exactly what I did, after a full week of work and absolutely zero preparation, I joined my friend and we set off for our 20 mile walk across London. With the recent arrival of the Beast from the East, the weather was most definitely not in our favour on this particular Saturday. But this did not stop us. We layered up for the almost minus temperatures, and prepared ourselves for the frosty day ahead. Each step we took, our feet were greeted, or rather insulted, by a thick bed of snow-turned-slush, that was cemented to the ground. Although that morning, as we arose from our slumber, this walk was one of the last things we wanted to do, it couldn't have turned out to be a more rewarding and satisfying experience. We met an incredible group of individuals from across the pond (Missouri, Indianapolis, Boston: Massachusetts, California), and also from Thanda in South Africa. We set off as a group of twelve, my friend and I were strangers to the rest of the group, but quickly got talking and shared our hobbies, interests and the two of us even got some career advice along the way. We reunited in the evening for drinks and a delicious meal, that was kindly hosted by the parents of the charity's founders. This dinner took place in their luxuriously modern, yet rustic, London Bridge apartment. We wined and dined, and shared our individual stories of how we all came to be here for this occasion. All in all, my impulse decision to take part in this walk was definitely worth it, and this day has given me some smile-worthy memories to look back on. Taking part in a fundraising event can never really be a regrettable decision, as the reason you are taking part in the first place is to give back to a worthwhile cause. I recommend seeing what fundraising events are on near you, and getting involved once in a while, you never know what may come of it. 

My apologies, after that watered down version of a 'story time', I realise that I haven't actually explained the real meaning or purpose that was behind this 20 mile walk. Allow me to brief you all....(if you are still reading and interested). So all of the donations from this walk have gone towards buying more books for the children of Thanda, in South Africa. There is only one library in the whole of Thanda, named: The Thanda Library. Thanda’s library is a colourful and warm environment, and is the only one in the area and is open 365 days a year. On any given weekend, Thanda’s library is filled with the laughter of children from the local community. Over the past four years, the number of books children borrowed from Thanda’s library increased from 460 to 6,715 books.

The donations provided, support Thanda's Mobile Librarian, who travels from school to school, and makes sure that this precious library stays open on weekends and holidays for all children to use. When a child opens a book, it opens their world by allowing them to imagine, empathise and identify with characters. It improves their concentration, vocabulary and language skills. It is an essential building block for all other areas of learning, but one that many children in developing nations don’t have. These books play an important role in ensuring that children growing up in rural South Africa become curious, lifelong learners who contribute positively to the world around them.

In total, between the twelve of us, we raised an average of £15,160, which converted to South African Rand comes to approximately R249,500. If you would like to know more about the charity: Thanda, please visit their website at www.thanda.org.

Let me know if you have ever taken part in a fundraising event, and what it was for, and the reason for taking part in it. I'd be interested to hear your own stories, so do share in the comments below, or alternatively send your stories to: oliviacharlottealice@gmail.com.


Thanks for Reading! 

Xx
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