Bo-Kaap runners walk and run for GiveLight SA

From left are Nu-Ha Salie, Shanaaz Ziervogel, Gasant Salie, Roshan Abrahams and Thaakirah Coetzee strike a pose on Kloofnek trail.

Five friends from Bo-Kaap participated in a week-long walkathon to raise funds and to create awareness for a child and youth care centre to be built in Schaapkraal, Cape Town.

The child and youth care centre is a development planned by the GiveLight Foundation, an international organisation that manages orphanages in six countries including Cambodia and Indonesia, who will be assisting GiveLight South Africa with this project.

The CEO of the GiveLight SA, Nasiera Saiet, said the Bo-Kaap team was one of 47 which took part in the global walkathon campaign, from Saturday to Saturday, March 5 to 12, raising funds to feed the orphans in GiveLight homes worldwide.

“The collective mileage for each team is recorded and submitted to the GiveLife foundation daily and the teams globally invite their local communities to sponsor every kilometre /mile covered. These funds are also used to feed the orphans,” said Ms Saiet.

The Bo-Kaap team covered 198 kilometres.

Ms Saiet, a physiotherapist, asked one of her clients, Thaakirah Coetzee, 43, if she could get five people together to take on the challenge. Assembling a team was as easy as sending a WhatsApp message.

“I didn’t hesitate to join this challenge when my physio told me about the walkathon village and the plans to build a children’s village. I reached out to my friends and they didn’t hesitate to join me for this cause,” said Ms Coetzee.

Ms Coetzee roped in Shanaaz Ziervogel, Roshan Abrahams, Nu-Ha Salie and her brother Gasant.

“It’s a personal challenge for me and I had to take this chance to give back to the community. I love kids and it’s a passion of mine to assist those who have less,” said Ms Ziervogel, 44.

According to Mr Salie, he did over 60 kilometres of running during the challenge and said that besides the physical benefits, it was about making a difference in the lives of the orphans.

“I am fortunate that I have both my parents and because this challenge is about orphans it made me realise that I have to appreciate what I have and who I have,” the 36-year-old said.

Ms Salie said she enjoyed the challenge as it was part of their plans to get fit – and being part of an international challenge was appealing.

“I believe that we have to give back and when this came along we just did it as we enjoy running so the benefits of running and giving back came together,” the 32-year-old long distance runner said.

The eldest member of the GiveLight team, 55-year old Ms Abrahams, who is a reporter/sub-editor for Atlantic Sun’s sister paper, Southern Mail, said she would continue keeping fit by running and walking.

“Committing to GiveLight SA’s Chase the light (initiative) by running/walking 5km or more a day for eight days benefited me tremendously, (and) not only physically. I woke up determined to start the day, committed and went to bed satisfied knowing I contributed to my wellbeing and to a splendid cause,” said Ms Abrahams.

Ms Saiet said that last the global walkathon generated about $50 000 (R750 000), and at the most recent update, the funds raised through this year’s initiative stood at $51000.

“We have four homes that we are supporting and altogether there are 40 kids. We support them with stationery or food; it’s on an ad hoc basis. The plans for the orphanage are ongoing and we are hoping that it will be complete in a year and I’m grateful for the Bo-Kaap team for raising awareness around the GiveLight SA project,” said Ms Saiet.

The GiveLight team, taking time out after their hike, are, from left, Nu-Ha Salie, Shanaaz Ziervogel, Gasant Salie, Thaakirah Coetzee and Roshan Abrahams.