On 8 June, 2019, a record number of riders and runners showed up to participate in the 3rdannual Zwel Challenge. This event was held to promote child protection week and to advocate for the orphan and vulnerable children that attend the Zwel Kids Club Monday – Friday. This year, there was a 15 & 30K mountain bike challenge along with a 5K run/walk. Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the day from all walks of life. It was great to see everyone come together to show we all have South Africa’s future on our hearts. There was music, face painting, the smell of chicken dust, and a general sense of community surrounding the event.
Sinani is the NPO that channels resources to the Zwel Kids Club and has helped facilitate the event since inception. Sinani is involved in 10 communities in the region and has 1100 orphan and vulnerable children they are currently caring for. Craig Rebro, Executive Director of Sinani, stated “The Zwel Kids Club is one of our model life centres. This is largely due to the daily leadership and commitment of Collen Mathebula and Gugu Mhaule. The Zwel Kids Club is not just a feeding scheme. They also provide healthy activities, such as cycling, to keep the kids busy and active.
They have participated in a young entrepreneurs’ programme, chess club, soccer club, gum boots dancing, and have a group of children who excel at playing the marimba. All of these activities make the club attractive to young girls and boys who would not come and participate if it were just a typical drop-in centre. This has contributed to the long-term success of the club. I believe the influence and guidance the children receive has already made a positive impact on the Zwelisha community.”
The event has attracted local businesses which support and sponsor the event. Debonairs Pizza was responsible for all the waterpoints and supplied each Zwel kid with a lunchbox. GO Zone water was present and handed out free 5L bottles of water to the community as well as provided a purified water fill station for anyone with empty water jugs. Oshee and 32GI gave energy bars and hydration supplies and Mopani Pharmacy covered the set-up, marketing, free water bottles, & t-shirts. We were pleased to have Ms. Elsinah Mhlongo from the ORC and the Department of Social Development as well as Ms. S. Felicia Ntuli. Their sponsorship of sandwiches and cool drinks was greatly appreciated by all of the children.
Another notable guest was Tsietsi Lakajoe from the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. We are thankful for the t-shirts and heart to advocate in Zwelisha and throughout Mpumalanga province and beyond. We look forward to continuing our relationship for the good of this region and the future of South Africa. Sinani’s life centre model is one that has proven successful and with the potential financial resources and partnerships created through collaborative efforts and events like this, we are excited for the future. We have the hearts, the team and the “know how”, it is simply the funding aspect that holds us back from making broader, meaningful change in the communities we serve. For more information about Zwel Kids or our other projects, click here.