Chaeli Mycroft

Co-founder, Chaeli Campaign

Chaeli Mycroft isn't sure what to do next. She's already started up a non-profit, been featured on Carte Blanche and most recently won the Youth Category for the South Africa's Social Entrepreneur award. At the age of 10, Mycroft was nominated as a finalist in the Social Welfare category of the Shoprite Checkers / SABC2 Woman of the Year Award � the youngest finalist in the 11-year history of these prestigious awards. Her non-profit, the Chaeli Campaign, was started up in 2004 by Mycroft, her sister Erin and their three close friends Tarryn, Justine and Chelsea Terry � all of whom were between six and 12 at the time. The girls started the campaign to raise R20 000 for Mycroft's motorised wheelchair. Just seven weeks later, they reached their goal. But after they saw how quickly the money rolled in, they decided to keep going and ever since, the Chaeli Campaign has been raising cash for those suffering from physical and mental impairment and doing outreach work in various communities. "Our relationship is what makes our story awesome and what makes it work,� says Mycroft, who has cerebral palsy. The 14-year-old has had a hard time trying to overcome people's prejudices. She says people treat her differently and it is something that she has just had to get used to. Changing perceptions towards the differently abled can be a challenge, she says, but fortunately she has four fellow activists and growing support from the public. In March, the Chaeli Campaign was named as winner in the Youth Category in the South African Social Entrepreneurs Awards. Mycroft says that winning was a great honour and she is grateful for the many doors that have opened for their organisation because of it. But she's still not sure which door to enter once school's out. "I have a lot of different ideas, so it's hard to decide,� Mycroft says. "But I'm thinking of journalism, advertising, events or motivational speaking. I haven't really made up my mind yet.� � Eamon Allan

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