HANDOVER TO IMALIYESIZWE SCHOOL BY SIFISO MNGOMA
The adverse consequences of schools opening amid Covid-19 has touched us as an organization. As a result, on Wednesday 1 July our Charity Committee Convenor, Pat Freeman handed over 1250 masks to Imbaliyesizwe School in Cato Ridge.
This handover forms part of our CSI initiatives where we are giving back to the community that supports us every year. Imbaliyesizwe is one of the local schools along Comrades Marathon route which is facing severe social issues similar to what many local South African schools are also going through.
At the facemask handover, we discovered there was only one tap in the school servicing 800 pupils and 34 teachers. With the aid of our Brazilian runners and their generous spirit, we are going to be assisting the school by adding more handwash basins on the school premises and fixing existing broken toilets and hand washing facilities. We hope this will have a huge impact on social distancing for these vulnerable schoolchildren.
BRAZILIANS RUNNING FOR IMBALIYESIZWE SCHOOL BY CESAR MORO
“Spirit of Comrades. Everyone who has ever got involved with the Comrades Marathon has already heard that. But what is that? The Comrades Marathon is not just a race. You don’t go there and do just a run.
For many, Comrades is a journey. A journey in which you engage yourself on an intention to do your best and achieve a goal that is not easy, that is not simple, but on the contrary, is one of the hardest things you will ever do and that sometimes seems to be beyond your capacity.
As if it isn’t enough, the Comrades Marathon give us also a great inspiration of being able to do more for charity purposes. From the moment you fill your entry form, where you can choose an entity and choose to make a charity donation, passing through the presence of several charity entities in the Comrades Expo, and finally the tour that visits the Ethembeni School (I missed them so much this year), all these give us a chance to get closer to these charity organisations and know their work and their people a little bit.
I believe that because of all of these, a group of fellow Brazilians decided to do more when talking about running Comrades. Some pioneers created a group on social media to help more runners to get to know Comrades and to prepare themselves to travel to South Africa and run 90km.
Others created a project to get donations of running shoes and bring them to Africa. Every year we bring thousands of running shoes.
As the years go by, this group is getting bigger and stronger. One action naturally inspires the following one. Since 2017 we decided to make T-shirts to identify the Brazilian athletes who run Comrades. Together we draw the T-shirt, approve the art, promote its sale using social media. In 2019 we decided to increase the T-shirts value a bit and send all the profits from T-shirt sales to a charity initiative. Last year, half of the donations were sent to Brazilian and the other half to South African charities.
All who have been working on the T-shirt design, sale and distribution do so voluntarily. In 2020 we achieved more than R30-thousand to donate and decided to send the total amount to a South African CSI initiative, identified by the Comrades Marathon Association – the Imbaliyesizwe School.
When I think about why I love the Comrades Marathon, the answer is very simple. It has challenged me to be a better runner and also to be a better man. Challenge accepted, let’s do better next year.”
NEWS FROM HACT
Daring to Dream – HACT Celebrates Comrades Ambassador’s Fundraising Success Well-known Durban-based runner, Dean Wight has succeeded in raising over R400 000 for his chosen charity, the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT) through this year’s Comrades Marathon Race for Charity campaign making him the iconic race’s top charity fundraiser for the third year in a row and putting his total tally raised for the local charity at just over R1 million.
Despite this year’s 95th running of the Comrades Marathon being cancelled in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Wight still managed to raise the record amount thanks to the goodwill of his close friends, family and local online running network, Beloved Long Runs (BLR) KZN.
Speaking of his accomplishment, Wight said, “I was in two minds what to set my fundraising target as this year, but in the end the 2020 race’s slogan of #DareToDream spurred me on and I’m so glad I did because HACT really needs these funds now more than ever…”
HACT CEO, Candace Davidson explained how Wight’s perseverance paid off after months of hard work and creative fundraising which included selling BLR merchandise and getting friends and family to sponsor a 78km run around his garden during the initial 21-day lockdown period. “If there’s one thing we’ve come to know about Dean, it’s that he doesn’t do things in half measures. Be it running 1566 laps around his 50m garden for HACT during lockdown, running 90km in the Race the Comrades Legends virtual race or raising much needed funds for HACT, he always goes the distance,” said Davidson.
The bulk of the funds raised through this year’s Comrades campaign for HACT will be going towards the charity’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which according to Davidson is; “helping to mitigate the far reaching impact of COVID-19 on those considered the most vulnerable and at risk within our local communities, including those with compromised immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or TB as well as the elderly. Within the context of the coronavirus and ongoing regulations and safety concerns, HACT has had to creatively find new ways of offering supportive services to our many beneficiaries.”
PHOTO: JAM Monitor, Thokozani Mthalane hands over food hampers to Community Chest M&E Officer, Christian Dlamini
Whilst schools remained closed in South Africa during the Covid-19 lockdown, JAM (Joint Aid Management, S.A.) provided over a million and sixty-one thousand JAM porridge take-home rations to children and their families, across the country.
The highly nutritious JAM “super cereal” provides the children with approximately 75% of their required daily nutrients. With approximately 3 000 distribution centres across all nine provinces, JAM continued to feed those normally fed through their school-feeding programmes, ensuring that they did not go hungry during the closure of schools.
The Community Chest is privileged to partner with JAM and together we are ensuring that the ±3 000 children attending the 27 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres supported by the Community Chest received and continue to receive their breakfast cereal, despite the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
We are especially grateful to JAM for their most recent donation of 250 food hampers to assist the families of our most vulnerable ECD children. Teachers from the benefitting ECD centres, namely, Isiqalo ECD Centre – Unit J, Khombindlela ECD Centre, Mamboza Crèche, Mbabane Crèche, Sbongumusa ECD Centre, Sizamiseni Crèche, Sphumelele ECD Centre and Thandokuhle Crèche identified the children and ensured that the food parcels were well received by their parents/guardians.
“On behalf of Sizamiseni Crèche Committee, staff, parents, community and learners, I would like to express our gratitude for the donations we have been getting. Parents showed such joy when receiving their parcel. All we can do is say thank you to all at Community Chest for your love and consideration. May God protect you all and your families through these difficult times. We love you,” said Ms T. Magubane, Principal, Sizamiseni Crèche.
If you wish to lend a hand and assist the Community Chest in its Covid-19 food security drive, please contact Angie Narayanan on 0727910311 or Christian Dlamini on 0749751275.