The Final Round

It’s been just over a month since our Big5Hike for education. It was the final round and our thanks extends to those that joined us, to the Corporates that have been an integral part of the hike’s success and to our Cavern & Royal Drak teams for the energy and love that they entwine in all that we do.

Leading up to the hike we had 6 very busy months where Loretta, Teacher Thoba & I have worked hard with a few experts drawing up our Theory of Change for the Royal Drakensberg Education Trust. We’ve looked at measurables, outputs, and we’ve agreed on our outcomes.

Our aims, as we work in our community:

  • Children are better prepared for their next phase of Education
  • Norms and standards in Education in rural South Africa are improved
  • Beneficiaries realise the power of possibility

In the many discussions we’ve spoken about the things we can and can’t measure. Love is vital but we can’t measure it, and how do we track the power of possibility… there’s so much out there that feeds our souls and excites our hearts and putting this down isn’t always easy.

Over the days leading up to the hike we shared a few stories about those impacted by our Royal Drak support. Ultimately, this is you, our Cavern community, that supports each of these individuals too. Opportunities are made available and suddenly much becomes possible.

In the week of the final hike, we lost a St John’s girl. One of our contemporaries. A gorgeous mum, a loyal friend and someone who believed in education. She shared her story about her cancer battle openly on the socials. She celebrated being with her littlest when she lost her first tooth and her very last post was sharing one of our stories… This touched us enormously.

We all have stories and sharing them helps connect us and creates a deeper understanding of our communities. There is power in our individual story. And so we share some highlights from this past decade;

  • 936 hikers have raised R9,335,445 for education.
  • Olivia Bedingham has done every Big5Hike since 2014, even when we opted to be safe and hike beneath the cliff line and the teens decided to go anyway…
  • Cath Duff did every hike, since 2014, in the same pair of takkies!
  • Stephen Kirker completed 5 big5hikes in 2 days and raised R50k in his fiftieth year in 2018
  • Travis Gillespie completed the hike barefoot in 2017. He walked to raise awareness for those without shoes and then managed to secure a donation of shoes for every child at Royal Drakensberg!

As this chapter ends and the Big5Hike for education draws to a close, we hope that by continuing to share our stories we will keep the connections because what started in 2006 is so much bigger and our impact has grown significantly… on a Wednesday this past term, 450 children gathered of their own free will to listen to stories. This is the little community reading afternoon which we began and it has just flourished. It’s wow and this is the power of possibility…

Our thanks goes to the corporates, every Cavern guest and friend that supported, the hikers, the teams that made it happen and our dear family that are a constant in everything that we do.

Megan Carte Bedingham

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