The chief executive of non-profit organisation StreetBiz Foundation, Dr Nico de Klerk, is walking across the country to raise funds to start an online business school catering for high school pupils and unemployed South Africans.
De Klerk, 59, from Pretoria, started his Long Walk Project, covering more than 2750 km, at the statue of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings on Mandela Day, July 18, and will end the walk at the houses of Parliament in Cape Town on November 24.
He has set up a donations campaign on crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, for South Africans to support phase one of his long-term plan, the online business school aimed at pupils in Grades 10 and 11 and the unemployed.
“I decided to embark on this journey to make contact with present and future entrepreneurs, and to raise awareness around a changing mindset needed at a grass-roots level for entrepreneurship to thrive in our country,” said De Klerk.
By the end of his mission, he would have visited more than a hundred local communities, met community leaders there and hosted empowering workshops at schools.
“This long walk is a gift to all South Africans, intended to reboot our mindset for a positive outlook, reboot our perceptions and to cross boundaries like never before,” he said.
“This is a gift to highlight the enormous potential we have, especially among the youth and unemployed. It is exciting stuff to experience the drive and ambition at grass roots levels. But we need to change our strategy and create access for them (to education).
“I have been inspired by the stories I’ve heard along the way and the hospitality I have experienced, sleeping in townships, guest houses and family homes across the country. This has been a unique and life-changing experience.
“As a nation we have so much potential and so many good people who want to be a part of the solution and bring about meaningful social change. I hope the public will continue to support my BackaBuddy campaign to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
The campaign has thus far raised R35514.10 of his target of R450 000.
Anyone wishing to donate can visit: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/the-long-walk-project.