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Auckland Park Preparatory School has its own SleepOut

| August 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Vicky Hyland

The moment I heard about the CEO SleepOut movement,1 I just knew that I wanted to be part of the South African leg of the event.

Our Grade 5 setwork this term, Mpho’s Search by Sandra Braude,2 gave me all the ammunition I needed, and an idea was born.

Mpho’s Search is about a young boy who is forced off a farm when his granny dies, and he comes to Johannesburg to look for his father, who is working on the gold mines. In short, he ends up ‘sleeping rough’ on the streets of Johannesburg.

Bring a blanket

For the Grade 5 class to appreciate fully what Mpho went through and to tie in with what the CEOs were doing, I thought we could spend the night ‘sleeping rough’ on the corridors of Auckland Park Prep in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Each student had to bring a blanket. We also got the rest of the school involved, and suddenly we had a blanket donation drive going as well! We collected about 150 blankets in total, which we donated to Girls and Boys Town.3

Trading places

The girls were quite concerned about what they were going to eat, and some thought they might even “starve to death”. As Mpho did, we decided that we would earn our ‘dinner money’ by polishing shoes (R5 per polish) at break-time. We raised R1 500 polishing shoes for three days and, of course, we didn’t use it all for food for ourselves!

The event itself was remarkable. We were fortunate enough to have three young representatives from Girls and Boys Town, who shared their stories with us. It was a humbling and meaningful experience. Justine Malala, one of our parents, is a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and was at the 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut™ the night before, and she shared her experience of the evening with us.

As our braziers burned low, I reflected on an event that was extraordinarily powerful in its simplicity. The thirty Grade 5 students agreed that, for only one night, ‘sleeping rough’ was manageable, but they would not like to do it all the time.


1. See:
2. Braude, S. (1994) Mpho’s Search. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
3. Girls and Boys Town South Africa focuses on the individual needs of youth in family homes and youth development centres, by implementing nationally researched, standardised and specialised child and youth care programmes. (Source:

Category: Spring 2015

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