August 2015 –The inaugural 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut™ took place in June this year and following an audit has now been confirmed to have raised over R26 million for non-profit organisation Girls & Boys Town (GBT) – the largest sum ever raised by a single South African charity event. Wilderness Safaris CEO Keith Vincent – the second confirmed participant of this year’s event – is proud to have taken part together with various other key tourism stakeholders.
Together with representatives from Tourvest Holdings, HRG Rennies Travel, Virgin Atlantic, Peermont, Europcar and City Lodge Hotel Group, Keith spent a cold winter’s night on the streets of Sandton, with only a sleeping bag and cardboard floor-covering. The purpose of the event was to highlight the plight of the homeless and children living in distressed conditions and in order to take part, each CEO donated at least R100 000; the money raised will fund various GBT rehabilitation programmes, providing long-term, sustainable solutions and care to homeless and vulnerable children.
“It was humbling to join over 250 CEOs and industry leaders in support of this important cause which closely resonates with the principles of our non-profit organisation, Children in the Wilderness (CITW)”, says Vincent. “To see so many business leaders from various industries come together as part of a bigger community, to try and make a sustainable difference to the lives of children in need, was inspirational to say the least.”
Each year, a selection of Wilderness Safaris and partner camps are closed to paying guests in order to host three- to five-day education and fun-filled programmes for children from the surrounding rural areas. “In essence our CITW camps are the inverse of the CEO SleepOut concept – by hosting children at our luxury safari camps and exposing them to their incredible natural heritage, we aim to challenge their perceptions and inspire them to become great leaders and conservationists.”
“It is imperative to nurture our leaders for tomorrow, both in urban and rural communities, and we are proud that the tourism industry gathered together to support this year’s CEO SleepOut™ in Johannesburg. We will continue to drive our CITW programme across the various countries in which we operate, in order to create leaders who are inspired to care for their legacy and can show others the way”, Vincent added.