We are devastated to report, that after generous SAPeople followers helped Timothy Meuwsen, from Bergsig Academy, raise enough money to follow his dreams and represent South Africa on an APCAN rugby tour in Argentina… the trip has been cancelled as the tour operator hired by Apcan has closed his shop and potentially misappropriated the funds paid to him.
Carte Blanche is investigating and will be featuring this story on Sunday as it has affected school kids across the country. (Watch on DStv Now if you’re in South Africa, and stream from Tues 10 Dec on Showmax International in most other countries.)
SAPeople was heartbroken when Tim’s mom Angela wrote to us “with a very heavy heart” to share the sad news.
She said the boys on the team are all “helluva disappointed and all the emotions are running very high”; she wants to “cry every time” she looks at Tim’s face.
Heartbroken Tim and his teammates are not the only ones who have had their dreams shattered… and their parents left out of pocket.
Carte Blanche says that there are at least four different tours (including Tim’s to Argentina) that were meant to take place over the holidays. The others were to Switzerland and Sri Lanka.
As Carte Blanche says, parents thought they were buying into an “educational expedition of a lifetime” for their children.
The current affairs show says: “Since 2014 the operator claims to have managed 105 tours – a one-stop travel shop for planning and executing the logistics of group travel.
“But Carte Blanche investigates claims that four different tours meant to have taken place over the holidays have just been cancelled at an estimated loss of R3 million, leaving families fuming, devastated and out of pocket.”
Tim, a talented and passionate young rugby player in Grade 11 had been selected to compete in Argentina with the South African Apcan team… but his ‘rainbow’ family – who adopted him when he was a baby – sadly didn’t have enough money to pay for the trip (R36,768).
That’s where SAPeople followers stepped in to help pay the difference of R20,000… and help get Tim a step closer to his dream of one day being the next Siya Kolisi. (Tim has already represented SA in another sport. You can read the original story about getting Tim to Argentina here.)
Instead now those dreams have been dashed. The tour operator apparently sent a WhatsApp saying he was closing down. He never gave a refund to Apcan who had been hoping to rebook the trips with another operator.
Angela says: “We are so angry that someone could do this to children. What was the man thinking???? How could he keep taking people’s money knowing full well that they would be getting nothing in return?”
Parents have opened a case at the Krugersdorp police station.
Angela says: “Right now we are still picking up the pieces… Tim has hardly spoken as he internalises his stress, but he is so quiet and I want to cry every time I look at his face.”
Those kind South Africans in SA and abroad who donated so generously to Tim’s cause on BackABuddy will receive an email about this devastating turn of events. (If you wish to help Tim’s family, please see more here.)
We hope Tim doesn’t let this one hiccup stop him from following his dreams!!! We hope he can use it to become stronger and more determined… and that one day we will cheer him as he walks on to the field for SA!