Our group recently had the wonderful pleasure of speaking with Tamarin Simpson, the founder of Tippy Toes Foundation. We will be working closely with this organization during our trip. The children that will be attending our camp are associated with the Tippy Toes Foundation and have close relations with Tamarin.
Although I have not physically met Tamarin, you can tell that this woman is outstanding (and not just because she woke up at 3am to have a lengthy chat with all of us). If her early morning phone call proved anything, it’s that she is so utterly dedicated to this cause and these kids. She gave us her own personal history of her experiences of growing up as a “white” girl in South Africa. She explained the segregation and the stereotypes of races in Cape Town. She told us some stories about the children and the type of lives that they live. To say that us Quinnipiac students come from a very different upbringing, would be an understatement. No matter what kind of childhood we had growing up, it is in no way similar to the hardships and devastation that these children she described have experienced.
She told us that it bothered her to know that just a few miles from her home there were children and families starving and not living the same quality of life that she was. Tamarin told us with ease about the conditions that we will encounter while on our trip. At stoplights we are expected to be begged for money by many people that have no other means of supporting themselves. The money they raise from begging at car windows is the only income that some of these people have. Tamarin is so familiar with these areas that they know her as a friendly face in the neighborhood when she passes by.
Tamarin remembered an incident that had happened a few years back that she says will most likely occur again. American girls were playing around with the kids and splashing paint around and when they went to the sink to wash off, they helped a young girl wash paint off of her hands and when the American girls touched the South African girl, the young girl panicked. Tamarin explained that many of these children have never been touched by a white person before and are startled solely by a white person’s presence.
The purpose of us going down there is give these kids something to do. It is their summer break which means they do not have school to attend to and are now bored and most do not have parents to look after them. Tamarin explained that this boredom leads many children into trouble with drugs, gangs, etc. This camp that we are hosting will help teach this kids how to be kids, fun activities they can do with their free time and to just have fun. These kids do not have anything to play with or do with their free time, leaving them in boredom.
In America, the second someone gets bored they immediately turn to their phone, computer, television or electronic device. If it’s not an electronic device, many Americans can very easily pick up a ball and start a quick game of anything they’d like. These children don’t even have to opportunity to do that because they cannot afford to buy a ball. With the help of the camp we are organizing I am hoping to give these kids even just a sliver of carefree fun.
Tamarin is such an essential asset to understanding these children and the lifestyle that we will be walking into. Her dedication and love for this community is extremely respectful and inspiring. I absolutely cannot wait to meet Tamarin and do everything I can to help make her organization and this summer camp the greatest success that it can be.