Lilyfontein SleepOut

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•First East London school joins initiative to help the homeless

WHILE South Africa’s current and future business leaders head for the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg for the annual CEO SleepOut tonight, Lilyfontein pupils and teachers will show their solidarity by participating in their first ever School SleepOut.

Organised in support of the #SouthAfricaMustRise movement and the global CEO SleepOut challenge, Lilyfontein’s event will run from 6pm this evening to 6am tomorrow morning.

Pupils and teachers will sleep outdoors on cardboard with only blankets and a communal fire to give them a small taste of homelessness.

THREADBARE SHELTER: Preparing for  Lilyfontein ’s  SleepOut  tonight, pupil Simone Courtois tucks in after building his own shelter and spending 48 hours without food or electronics
THREADBARE SHELTER: Preparing for Lilyfontein ’s SleepOut tonight, pupil Simone Courtois tucks in after building his own shelter and spending 48 hours without food or electronics

They will not only be conducting the SleepOut to gain some understanding for the plight of the homeless, but also as part of a drive to collect items needed by needy pupils at Nkwezana School, near Crossways.

The items include things like warm clothes, blankets, toiletries, packet soup and hot chocolate.

“We’re asking that pupils personify the importance of education as a means to end homelessness and spend the night sleeping outdoors on their school grounds in solidarity, raising empathy for the homeless and collecting items for those in need,” Lilyfontein marketing head Caroline Kruger said.

“It is always important to have empathy for those less fortunate than oneself.

“In this way, we are teaching pupils about their responsibility within their own community and encourage them to get involved to help,” Kruger said.

Chief executives in Johannesburg will be raising funds for education and helping to alleviate poverty by supporting the Asha Trust for Early Childhood Development, Columba Leadership and the Steve Biko Foundation.

Last year Mercedes-Benz chief executive Arno van der Merwe represented East London sleeping out in aid of the poor.

Lilyfontein is the first school to participate in the School SleepOut from East London.

The school anticipates that about 50 pupils and teachers will show up tonight.

They heard about the School SleepOut from Rika Verster, who is accounts manager at D6 Technology in partnership with Liberty Life in the Eastern Cape.

Verster said the school initiative began last year.

“We saw the niche and it is growing this year and will do going into the future.”

Besides Lilyfontein the two other schools taking part in the School SleepOut this year are Victoria Girls in Grahamstown and Woodridge in Port Elizabeth.

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