Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Photo credit: Janaya Performing with the Orchestra (Alex Lyons)
We spoke to long term Sistema in Norwich student Janaya Toye, about her fundraising journey and experience to raise money and awareness for NORCA & Sistema in Norwich and Sistema England. Janaya set out to fundraise by walking around the UK visiting all the Sistema programmes in England back in April 2021.
Can you tell me a bit about the walk?
I went on a trip around the UK perimeter walking to raise money and awareness for Sistema in Norwich and for Sistema England, because I wanted to give something back.
Where within the UK did you do your fundraising walk?
I started walking from Norwich and walked up to North Yorkshire. I was nearly at Robin
Hood’s Bay when I fell down and injured my ankle and had to stop, but I got all the way up to North Yorkshire in 25 days!
How did this idea come about, was it mainly because you wanted to travel?
There’s been a lot of things that have led me up to wanting to do this, I had the feeling of being cramped (before lockdown) and I just felt like I needed to do something and be free. I looked at other hiking cultures on Youtube like the Triple Crown trails in America and Camino in Spain and I just thought why don’t we have a hiking culture like that? This is just one of the reasons why I decided to do this.
Was there anything that you wish you either didn’t pack or pack for your journey?
I packed a pretty big tent and in hindsight I’m glad I had the extra space but I should have taken a smaller one. I was fully prepared to be sleeping in this tent every night, I was totally prepared for that! I had all sorts of help along the way. In Holbeach, a Vicar and her husband let me stay in the garden of the vicarage and invited me in to have dinner. Another couple let me stay at their farm and had me in for tea and chips because it was raining so hard - it was lovely.
So, could you tell me why you chose NORCA & Sistema in Norwich?
I started with Sistema when I was 6 years old (now 19) and I didn’t have many opportunities in life as a kid. When I picked up the violin that was it for me and my mum really fought to give a me a musical education. Sistema is a charitable organisation that gives kids from disadvantaged areas the ability to play classical music and it did exactly that for me. It’s been a family, they have been my family. Now I’m looking down at the younger kids and thinking I’ve been exactly where you are and it’s brilliant! I went through some tough times and this has been the only thing that has kept me grounded. Sistema means everything to me.
Because you had to cut your journey short due to your ankle injury, are you planning on continuing the trip after it’s healed?
Once I’m healed up I’m going to get back out there and follow the same route, finishing off the Cleveland Way path and try to visit every Sistema in England programme on the map.
How much did you raise and where can people find out more about your journey?
I did get talking to someone on my travels who wanted to donate to Sistema because he was so moved by what I was doing, and actually donated £50 which he had saved on his plumbing. So far I’ve raised £120 and you can find out more by visiting my YouTube channel. If people would like to donate, then I would say take a look at the NORCA & Sistema in Norwich website and get in contact with them.
Interviewer: Communications Assistant, Jade-Marie Anderson
Interviewee: Sistema in Norwich student, Janaya Toye