I ran the TCS Amsterdam Marathon on October 21, 2018, to raise funds and awareness of Ubuntu Pathways in South Africa!
I was born in 1993 and grew up, proud to be part of the new, Rainbow Nation, South Africa with eleven national languages, where everyone is equal. Unfortunately, this "new" South Africa still has many broken systems, especially in the infrastructure and city planning - a lack of resources contribute to unemployment, lack of education and much-needed support to families and children. I grew up a country where after you exit any town or city you would see townships ("townships" here refer to underdeveloped, previously segregated areas) knowing it's not right but not knowing exactly what to do about this or even where to start.
Arriving at many homes in South Africa, you need multiple buttons to first turn off alarms and then open a gate and a garage, drive your car inside and quickly close the garage for fear of someone entering and hijacking you or even worse, harming your family. You unlock yet another security gate and a door and then you enter the house. It's not normal. It shouldn't be like this.
These are options, no, requirements for a "safe" life in South Africa. This is what people do with enough money to buy safety. What about the millions of people living in South Africa below the breadline? The women without electricity who have to walk through narrow alleyways in the dark to an outside restroom and risk getting raped? Every day millions face some of the worst conditions and still hope that they will be remembered and given proper infrastructure - garbage removal, clean water, roads... The most vulnerable still pay the highest price.
If you don't grow up in a township, townships are considered these unsafe, scary places, outside of every town and city where you never go. I had never even been in a township until I ran my first half marathon in my hometown, Potchefstroom, at the age of 19. Streets were lined with shacks, "mokukus," brick houses and houses of corrugated iron. A whole different world. The people we passed were happy and excited to have us run through their township, Ikageng.
And now I want to see more and most of all, give more. I realize that each contribution, each person devoting time and effort to help children and people in this country from cradle to career, can make an enormous difference. Ubuntu Pathways' work makes me realize how I can contribute as an individual. I am inspired by the fact that Ubuntu doesn't settle for the "$1, one child" method. I am inspired by the fact that people from outside believe in South Africa and build its future through investing in the youth that needs it the most - not only through money but through real care and love.
Please donate - any amount will make a difference and contribute to a much bigger picture! Contributing will not only make a small difference - it will help to literally change whole families' lives.