Paul Jay from “Suffer the Children” has been organising events across Gauteng and this year decided to arrange a world record attempt for tug-of-war by orphans. The event was held at Marks Park in Johannesburg on 6 July 2013. SOAPkidz was invited to have a presence at the event and bring along children to partake in the day’s activities.
The night before the event, Karen and a group of enthusiastic volunteers feverishly prepared recycled material as the children were going to make gift bags and needed to scour the store rooms for material, stationery and gazebo’s, chairs and everything else necessary to make the day a success.
30 Children from Injabula, Eersterus were invited and would be coming through in a sponsored taxi. The day’s fun started with trying to get everyone coordinated and driving in the general direction of Johannesburg and the Marks Park Sports Grounds.
On arrival at the event, we proceeded to engage with the children and get them to assist us with setting up the SOAPkidz gazebo and decorate it accordingly. Each child was given a SOAPkidz bib which assisted to identify our children and this also created a sense of unity and identity, which carried on throughout the day.
There was a lot to do including live music, jumping castles, slides, etc. and the children were off and enjoying themselves. Groups of children were always at the gazebo making gift bags and this created a buzz around the SOAPkidz stand and soon other children were getting involved. The gazebo also attracted a lot of attention from the public at large and many people came to enquire about the activities offered and how their children or they themselves could get involved.
Everywhere you looked, there was a child wearing a SOAPkidz bib running around having fun or in some cases picking up litter and showing the other children that they need to look after their environment. This made us all so proud! At the live music, the girls excelled by dancing along, creating an awareness for the children and the focus of “Suffer the Children”. The cold and overcast weather seemed to have kept people away; however the people who did come along thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Local political parties had been invited and came out to support the initiative and through this raised the profile of the event! It was great to see the representatives interacting with the children and participating in this worthwhile cause.
When it was time for the world record attempt, everybody got involved as there were not enough children. The attempt rapidly degenerating into a free for all and all attempts to get everybody to pull in two directions ended in various factions all pulling in their own directions. The elaborate rope with multiple sub-ropes was just too much for everyone and the excitement just took over! In the end, all is well, that ends well and the SOAPkidz faction won the best of three attempts. Everyone was laughing and having lots of fun at the same time.
We did not achieve a world record, but we definitely achieved a lot! People laughed and the children were made to feel special for the day. We were all out there to have some fun and enjoy the winter’s day.
In my mind, one of the highlights of the day was when the sponsored bread that was given to all the children and the SOAPkidz crew, realising there was much more bread, the children decided to take their share. Before we could clear our eyes, we were overwhelmed by over 150 loaves of bread! We tried to explain to the children that the taxi was already overloaded and that there was no space for these loaves, but the children were not having any of it! We divided them into groups and got them to ponder their loaves of bread and come up with a solution. After lots of explaining, the bread was loaded up and distributed amongst the cars and we left for Pretoria.
We all knew that nobody would go hungry that night and with a sense of accomplishment we unpacked the cars and reflected on the day. The SOAPkidz children had enjoyed their day and were made to feel special! The event helped to raised awareness for SOAPkidz and its activities and the volunteers enjoyed the day out, reflecting on the difference they had made to the children and to themselves.
It is events like this which make one realise that we can all play a role in our own environments and the children. With a sense of satisfaction, we fell asleep knowing we had been part of something worthwhile and very special.
The day’s events were shown on eNews that evening and one can see the SOAPkidz bibs everywhere. You can see the news cover footage at: Orphans treated to outing