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Continuing BPE’s support for The Footprints Foundation

“Be about doing something, not about being somebody"

John Workman has recently returned from his fourth trip to Johannesburg after spending a week volunteering for The Footprints Foundation (www.thefootprintsfoundation.co.uk), a charity he has supported for over a decade.

Footprints was founded by Bob Holt in 2007 and supports valuable projects in the Soweto region of Johannesburg. John has previously visited as part of a volunteering group which looked to add value and improve the lives of people supported by the Khaya Centre – a care centre in the Orange Farm Township, near Soweto, and the Winnie Mabaso Orphanage.

The Khaya Centre gives help to orphans, and often their grandmothers, by providing food and water and pre-schooling activities to children, as well as advice and life-coaching to teenagers. Practical lessons in areas including IT and plumbing are all designed to try to help these teenagers to end the cycle of poverty.

This year, John’s group was tasked to transform a day care centre which cares for over 40 children. By the end of the week, the centre had been trebled in size and among other things, John mastered glazing techniques mixing render and re-painted square miles of concrete breeze blocks.

He also spent an afternoon volunteering at a feeding program, which was organised by the Winnie Mabaso Organisation. The feeding program took place on a site previously renovated by another volunteer group who visited with The Footprints Foundation.

In previous years, John has helped dig out and concrete a driveway up to the Winnie Mabaso Orphanage (11 cubic meters of earth…) and worked as part of a team tasked with building a church from the ground up – in fact John’s handprint can be found in the foundations. Talking of prints – the driveway at the Winnie Mabaso Orphanage has a child’s footprints in it for all time – young Ashaphile went running through the wet concrete before she could be stopped!

Over the years, John has undertaken several mammoth cycling challenges in aid of The Footprints Foundation raising an incredible £40,000 for the charity. From taking on the Alps, the Way of Saint James, cycling from Budapest to Luxembourg, and last year cycling the North Coast 500 along the coast of Scotland in the fondly named Project Midge, John has challenged himself and his friends to continually raise money for the charity.

BPE has long supported Footprints, having sent an initial BPE team of staff to South Africa to help to build an orphanage in Zenzeleni, back in 2011. Plans are being formed to send another BPE group out to support the project in 2023 as interest in the charity has grown within BPE, due in large part to John’s enthusiasm and championing of the adage on the charity’s home page;  “Be about doing something, not about being somebody".

On his relationship with the Footprints Foundation, John said: “This is a cause very close to my heart. Visiting the Khaya Centre is a highlight of my year – to see familiar faces and watch the children grow up safe and happy, using the structures we’ve built shows how much our fundraising and visiting is appreciated”.


For further information about Footprints, please see www.thefootprintsfoundation.co.uk

These notes have been prepared for the purpose of articles only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.

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