Thirteen-year-old Ashlyn Klinkradt is no average teenager: she sacrifices her weekends and spare time to help children and adults with disabilities.
Last year, the Grade 8 Rhenish Girls High School pupil started her own charity, Raising Hope SA, to help the disabled.
It raises money through various events, including raffles and competitions, and on Saturday May 6 it will hold its annual fund-raiser tea at the Voortrekker Hall in Kenridge.
Ashlyn was inspired by her brothers, David and Caleb. David,11, has Down syndrome, autism and epilepsy and Jayden, 8, has cerebral palsy and a rare disease, alternating hemiplegia of childhood (AHC).
Ashlyn, from Durbanville, has always had a passion for helping children and adults with disabilities and bringing hope to their families. She did her first fund-raiser when she was only 7.
At 8 she joined The Chaeli Campaign’s Pay-it Forward Ambassadors programme and became a mentor.
Ashlyn has done several projects over the years to raise money and awareness and inspire those without disabilities to accept those who are different to them.
For the past two years she has also run a feeding project.
Ashlyn was selected as the LeadSA Youth Hero for February for her work helping the disabled.
“I enjoy helping people and being involved with my church, especially with the special needs ministry for children with disabilities,” she said.
One of her charity’s projects, Hampers of Hope, provides staple dried foods to 35 families in Brackenfell. Another project supports parents who are homeschooling their children with special educational needs.
“I feel that children with disabilities don’t deserve to be excluded as they are just like us and need to be included. I do it to bring hope to those impacted by disability,” she said.
Raising Hope SA is looking for cyclists who are willing to raise money and awareness or who would be prepared to have a child with a disability ride along with them in a buggy attached to their bicycle.
“My aim is not to allow those with a disability to sit in their comfort zone, but rather to reach out, stretch out, and embrace the opportunities that are out there, and to create new ones for themselves,” she said.
Visit Raising Hope SA’s Facebook page or website at www.raisinghopesa.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact them at 074 934 6279.