Category Archives: Blog

Cycling with Afrika Tikkun to Add Hope

South Africans are generous. It’s true. Our national spirit – jaded though it may appear – remains stoically intent on giving when we can to those who need it. But sometimes that giving seems pointless. There are scammers all over the place preying on the goodwill of good people and as the old saying goes “once bitten, twice shy”.

But how do we make the judgement calls in our giving? How do we know whether our giving is helping out someone who really and truly needs it or is actually enabling some harmful behaviour in which case our best intentions are being manipulated to do more harm than good.

One of the most effective ways to make an impact is to channel your generosity through a reputable and effective organization. The upcoming Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge is a good time to start, with a plethora of charity teams in the race, why not participate in one of them, get fit and engage with a charity at the same time.

The race’s strapline is “Let’s ride for a purpose” and entrants are encouraged to use the event as a platform to fundraise for the charity of their choosing. So how do I choose which one?

Afrika Tikkun, an NGO that provides education, health and social services to children, youth and their families through centres of excellence in South African townships, is one of the causes looking for support. Afrika Tikkun’s aim is quite simply to provide township children the opportunity for a better future. When Madiba first visited one of their projects, he said “today I have seen a miracle!” and volunteered himself to stand as their Patron-in-Chief. (How’s that for an endorsement?)

Afrika Tikkun are great because they take a holistic approach to addressing the issues faced by the poorest of South Africa’s children. Education is our biggest issue so they provide all kinds of learning assistance, tutors, libraries, and so on. But that in itself is not a solution, because if your home life is troubled or if you aren’t well, you’ll be unable to learn anyway, and so they offer an array of family and health support services. They’ve discovered another issue: learner support at the primary or high school level still relies on solid foundations being laid pre-school and so they have an entire Early Childhood Development program to improve the ability of a child to actually learn. But while all of this sounds fantastic, the very basics of survival must be met and you can not learn on an empty stomach.

Afrika Tikkun have partnered with KFC’s Add Hope campaign with the goal of raising enough money to feed 300 tummies for a year through their 94.7 Momentum Cycle Challenge team. This partnership is counting on riders who want to make a real difference. Interested in channeling your generosity to an incredible cause (while getting fit)? Email events@afrikatikkun.org or visit http://afrikatikkun-events.org

 

For more information contact:
Carolyn Cramer
caz@cozitcounts.co.za

Come on Jozi, be a sport!

sprts day 2012 (21)

Picture it: one thousand kids from various townships around Jozi bussed in to the Joburg Stadium for a day of fun competition and good food.

The littlest guys and girls compete in mini-Olympic events like sack races and potato-and-spoon races, while the older kids compete in netball, soccer and athletics at an event which is the highlight of the year for many of them. It’s a day which is all about them, having fun with their friends and being treated.

Afrika Tikkun is an NGO whose aim is to provide township children the opportunity for a better future. They have an all-encompassing approach which includes nutrition, education, early childhood development, sport and family support services.

The Afrika Tikkun Annual Sports Day which happens on 18 August is the yearly culmination of all the work that goes into their Sports Programme – the programme gives these children a platform to develop their physical abilities and skills through various sports activities and just as importantly to apply life skills in the context of teamwork, tolerance, self-discipline and listening.

Some local rugby heroes like Mac Masina, Jonathan Moekwena and Kennedy Tsimba have already offered to be part of the day, but an event like this is really a chance for the whole city to come on board.

Afrika Tikkun is looking for families and friends to volunteer their time to cheer, ref, time keep and assist. Corporate teams can take part in the netball and soccer tournaments and local businesses and corporates can sponsor prizes, sports equipment and food for the kids.

Interested? Mail Nancy – nancyc@afrikatikkun.org or call 011 325 5911. The more the merrier!

Sucking in the skim reader

They could be anywhere. The guy in the cubicle next to yours, your friend that spends all day on Facebook, your boss or even your mother.

In fact, the truth is, they’re everywhere, even here, on this page.

The Skim Reader.

Skim readers are a content producer’s nightmare. The internet is blamed for a lot of things like the decline in print journalism, the rise in accessible pornography, pirating of television shows and music, but it is also to blame for the rise of the skim reader.

The internet can be a pretty overwhelming place with all its accessories. Every other website has embedded hyperlinks and rotating headers and catchy headlines. Facebook and Twitter make distraction and skim reading the norm of internet habits.  Most people go onto a website, see a long body of text and (in their heads at least) run screaming into the distance, farms flailing in the air.

We are a generation of internet users who go in to get what we want, or get distracted trying. Even as I write this I am aware that it will look like just a blur of words to the skim reader, too dense to bother with, unless they see a key phrase of interest.

So what’s a content producer to do? Before this gets any longer and you lose interest, allow me to make a few suggestions.

Headings help

Every good designer will tell you that headings break the text (even within a story). They make long copy easier to digest and help your reader find the section they actually WANT to read. Bullet points, though they may seem tacky, also work well for the lazy reader (who – these days – is all of us).

Don’t tell lies

While it is important to use catchy headlines to grab attention, don’t lie to your potential audience about the content of your article. If you use a sensational or misleading heading to grab attention, but your content fails to deliver, you’re ultimately just pushing people away and making them mistrust you.

All the pretty pictures

Pictures are on the increase. If you can find an image that will convey your message quickly and powerfully, use it. It adds texture to your article. Just make sure it suits what you’re saying

Keep it short

The shorter your article, the more likely it is that your audience will read it to the end. As lovely as waxing lyrical is, keep your sentences short too.

Hyperlinks are great

Hyperlinks are great because they enrich your own content. But you will lose the skim reader who clicks on an interesting link halfway through your article to whatever website you yourself are directing them. If you must use them, ensure that the link opens in a new browser; otherwise you’re making an amateur mistake, taking people away from your own webpage.

Go forth and conquer the scourge of the internet: The Skim Reader.