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Connecting Skies Bridging Continents


Taking a flight for the first time is the most popular request from thousands of children around South Africa each year, according to the Reach for a Dream Foundation (RFAD). In 2024, RFAD celebrates 36 years of making dreams come true for children with serious illnesses.

Innovative funding strategies and valuable partnerships are crucial for non-profit organizations like RFAD, especially during economic downturns. The recent announcement of a significant partnership with South African charter company Fireblade Aviation brings good news for the Foundation. Fireblade Aviation announced the partnership at its 10th anniversary event held in collaboration with RFAD in Johannesburg last week.


“The power of partnerships enables businesses to grow and opportunities to flourish,” said Leigh Kretzschmar, Managing Director of Fireblade Aviation. The company is focused on creating extraordinary experiences for international and domestic travelers, aircraft owners and operators, and tour operators. “While we manage two very different business models, there are shared synergies between RFAD and ourselves – both organizations focus on working around the clock to create tailored experiences that bring dreams to life. This partnership enables us to broaden access to families with seriously ill children.”


The partnership was launched with a fundraising initiative aimed at raising R2 million by selling 10,000 tickets for a 5-star chartered getaway. “Our target is to grant 2,200 individual dreams to children this year and the power of partnerships like this enables the Foundation to become more sustainable with access to networks that we wouldn’t necessarily have had before,” said Julia Sotirianakos, CEO of Reach For a Dream Foundation.


On average, every dream costs R5,000. This fundraising effort could fund about 400 extraordinary experiences or contribute towards other projects, such as creating Dream Rooms in hospitals or RFAD’s Dream Club outings. “This fundraiser is just the start, Fireblade will help us to take children to the skies as part of their own desire to give back to the community,” added Sotirianakos.


Fireblade understands that sometimes the smallest things create the most extraordinary experiences, not reserved only for the rich and famous. “We’ve evolved to making a long-term impact on the industry as a sustainable, commercial business,” said Kretzschmar. Fireblade is focused on boosting South African tourism, fuelling business travel into Africa, and bolstering local aviation. This commitment to sustainability extends to empowerment, where Fireblade actively focuses on the communities in which it operates, as well as the future generation of leaders in aviation, empowering youngsters to believe that dreams can come true.


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