I had the best meal of my life when dining at the Quartier Française located an hour outside of Cape Town. Not only was the experience unforgettable due to the fresh, delicate, delicious food, but I was happy that I could contribute to Street Smart. I learned about Street Smart by reading the brochure they included as part of the check. Street Smart raises money via participating restaurants that are currently located in the vicinity of Cape Town, and distributes the money raised directly to established organizations with the experience and facilities to help children who are living on the street (to date, the Quartier Française is the restaurant that has contributed the most to Street Smart). Given how popular the foodie movement is and Cape Town’s culinary reputation, this is a good way of promoting a good cause.
This got me thinking:
- 1,000 people get infected by HIV every day in South Africa
- South Africa is the worst HIV AIDS infected country in the world which translated to more than 5 million infected people, 25% of them being of working age
- 40%-50% of the current South African workforce will die of Aids within the next ten years which affects every sector of the economy
Given the statistics above and that educating children at a young age about HIV AIDS prevention is key to addressing this problem, I wanted to know if the organizations receiving the funds raised by Street Smart include prevention campaigns.
Finding this information on the Street Smart website was a challenge. After some digging, I found out that Youth Empowerment Action is one of the organizations benefiting and they do not include information on their website about educating street children about HIV AIDS.
If Street Smart followed up with those donors who dined at the restaurants to relay what has been done with the funds, this could be a good source of funding (over 3 million tourists go to Cape Town every year).
To target those living abroad that have already contributed, Street Smart could be on Facebook and improve their website. I would donate again if I was contacted but would like to know things such as what is the number of children that are now in shelters and out of the street, do they educate them about HIV AIDS prevention, and what opportunities are available to them now. Accountability and transparency is key for all organizations, especially those involved in charity work. A good way of communicating these efforts is through the internet and social media, especially for audiences in Europe and the US, like me.
Everyone I talk to who has been to Cape Town falls in love and if given the opportunity, I believe many would want to give back to this organization, and follow their progress online. This creates a connection with tourists and gives them another reason to go back to Cape Town, back to the Quartier Française (it’s that good!), and try out other member restaurants, especially if they can follow and see what happened with the funds they donated.