Photo Credit: StreetSmart SA

For almost 20 years, StreetSmart SA has committed to children’s charities across South Africa and raised R14 million rand during its time—which is a huge achievement. Now, the organisation is preparing to say a heartbreaking, bitter-sweet goodbye:


South Africa (23 January 2024) — Almost twenty years ago, StreetSmart South Africa was a new, exciting idea founded under the leadership of Margi Biggs, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu as its patron. Now, the time has come for a most bitter-sweet and heartbreaking goodbye, as StreetSmart South Africa nudges closer to closing. But, not before sharing a final R500,000 to 19 children’s charities across the country—the sweet part of the bitter-sweet goodbye.

In fact, much of the organisation’s achievements fall under the sweet part. Or rather, the incredible part. Over its existence sparked in 2005, it has raised R14 million by aligning with hospitality partners and businesses across the country. Diners and business patrons of participating fundraising partners have been donating to StreetSmart at their own discretion, by adding an additional amount for this purpose to their bills.

StreetSmart shares that every cent collected this way has been directed to charities that run educational, skills-training and family re-unification programmes for street and other vulnerable children. StreetSmart’s support has uniquely included the paying of salaries to the many social workers, auxiliary social workers, family re-integration workers, street-outreach workers, skills trainers, after-school care teachers, as well as school-bridging facilitators—not where most CSI departments or trusts usually allocate their funds.

The organisation adds that it has maintained detailed oversight over each funded programme to ensure that all funds have been spent as mutually agreed with the relevant charities.

Now for the bitter part. StreetSmart will be shutting its doors at the end of the month as it longer being able to cover its own running costs. Until now, these have been funded by sponsorships, fundraisers, corporate and other donor organisations, whose own pressures have been mounting in the face of a very tough economic time in South Africa.

“StreetSmart SA has always guaranteed that every rand raised by our fundraising partners would go towards helping children to build life and learning skills. Ironically, since the post-Covid bounce back, fundraising partners have started to come on board again to play their part.  But the simple reality is that in the present economic climate, financial support from other sponsors, donors and various fund-raising initiatives has proved insufficient to cover our own costs. That makes it impossible for us to continue operating. We shall cease fundraising at the end of this month. This will be followed by a final audit before winding down the company,” board chair Zaid Adams said.

Zaid confirmed that since 2005, StreetSmart has:

  • Disbursed R14 million to 36 charitable organisations working with children
  • Funded over 304 different programmes to improve the lives of children
  • Helped over 18000 vulnerable children and their families

“It is very sad, but the Board is proud of the real impact we have made in children’s lives over the past almost 19 years. We are proud of surviving Covid; and very proud that we close this chapter with a significant R500 000 donation to children’s welfare. Our heart-felt gratitude goes out to all who have supported us over the past almost 19 years and made these donations possible.”

Sources: Media Release
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Do you have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.


Facebook Comments

About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *