April 2015 – Wilderness Safaris CEO, Keith Vincent, has committed to sleeping on the streets of Sandton on one of the coldest nights of the year with just cardboard, a sleeping bag and a mug of soup to keep him warm, and is challenging others in the tourism industry to join him.
In a bid to raise awareness and R25 million for South Africa’s vulnerable children, the inaugural 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut is encouraging 250 of the country’s top business leaders to pledge R100 000 and spend the night of 18 June sleeping outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. All funds raised by participants and through public donations will go directly to Girls & Boys Town, a non-profit organisation that makes use of proven and successful programmes to rehabilitate and strengthen youth, their families, and communities in difficulty.
While sleeping outside is nothing new for Vincent, the streets of Sandton will be a stark contrast to the starry African skies and nocturnal sounds of the bush that he is more used to. “I think it is wonderful that 702 and Sun International are leading the charge, and we jumped at the opportunity to lend our support to this extremely important cause that is certain to take people out of their comfort zone and challenge their perceptions”, he said.
“Empowering and supporting Africa’s youth, the next generation of leaders and decision-makers, is something Wilderness Safaris is passionate about, and we feel the CEO SleepOut initiative has obvious similarities with our successful Children in the Wilderness (CITW) programme”, says Vincent.
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”.
“We urge others in our industry to consider also signing up for the CEO SleepOut, and in doing so, send a strong message that tourism is committed to making a difference”, he adds.
For more information, or to register to take part in the 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut, click here.