Help SA climate activist Ayakha Melithafa join Greta Thunberg in Davos

17-year-old South African climate change activist Ayakha Melithafa. Picture: Twitter (@Sa411_)

The 17-year-old has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover her and her mother’s costs on her trip to the World Economic Forum, but time is running out.

17-year-old Ayakha Melithafa’s upcoming trip to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland is only four days away, and her ongoing efforts to raise the money to get there through a crowdfunding campaign on Backabuddy have seen her raise less than half of the R50,000 required.

Melithafa is set to represent South Africa alongside eight other young climate change activists from around the world, including Sweden’s Greta Thunberg.

However, it’s unclear whether she will be able to go without raising money to cover the trip’s peripheral costs.

You can donate to the campaign here.

“Ayakha represents a movement for change that is calling on world leaders to exercise political will towards ambitious climate change. This young woman has taken up the responsibility we all have as citizens of our country, to ‘do something’,” the press release accompanying the campaign says.

“Her ‘something’ is standing up and speaking truth to power; inspiring and mobilising others to stand alongside her.  She is a young leader with an authentic voice that is developing into a powerful tool for social change. We, the people of South Africa, can stand alongside her and support her in her courageous journey.

“Ayakha has launched this crowdfunding campaign to cover her and her mom’s costs in getting to Davos. Her mom is attending as guardian, as Ayakha is a minor (she is 17 and a student in Grade 12 at the Centre for Science and Technology in Khayelitsha), and besides the airfare and hotels (which the WEF is providing), the peripheral costs are too high for the family to manage.

“For Ayakha, Davos is an opportunity to bring the voices of the South African youth, who will be some of the most affected by climate breakdown, to the global climate crisis discussion. She also hopes to inspire social and climate activism in her community back home; put pressure on big emitters to stop blocking global climate actionexert pressure on South Africa to reduce its own emissions; and encourage South African leaders and policymakers to lead Africa is pushing the world towards ambitious climate action.

Melithafa is a recruitment official and spokesperson for youth-led climate advocacy group the African Climate Alliance, which organised last year’s Cape Town leg of the global protests which took place, calling for action against climate change.

She made headlines in October last year after she joined Thunberg and other teens in petitioning the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to hold five of the world’s leading economic powers accountable for inaction on the climate crises.

She is also a graduate of the YouLead Initiative and received a Bronze “President’s Award for Youth Empowerment” at the end of 2019.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)

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