Charity ride to support education

2009-10-05 00:00

THREE cyclists taking in 26 centres in seven provinces in only two weeks — that’s the Gift of the Givers Foundation’s (GOTG) latest drive, a charity biking event in support of education.

Like its motto says, the foundation believes that best among people are those who benefit mankind.

It invests in education in the belief that the prosperity of any nation depends on the degree of its investment in education.

The biking team, whose journey started in Polokwane, have ridden through Mokopane, Naboomspruit, Modimolle, Bella-Bella, Nelspruit, Middleburg, Newcastle, Ladysmith and Estcourt, in all types of weather.

They descended on Pietermaritzburg, where the organisation’s head office is, and in the company of the GOTG team spent time at the Liberty Midlands Mall between 8 and 10 am on Saturday, handing out stationery and treats to children before they headed for their next stop, the Musgrave Centre in Durban.

The malls are strategic stops on their way to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, where the) expedition is expected to end next Saturday. This gives them an opportunity to treat the children and gives shoppers the opportunity to offer their support by buying coupons worth R10.

Allauddin Sayed, GOTG’s operational manager in Johannesburg, told The Witness that the idea for the project came after two of the cyclists, Haroon Surtee (41) and Mxolisi Mdletshe (26), approached it for sponsorship.

Surtee was seeking help for his son’s tertiary education, while Mdletshe, who has struggled to put himself through university and is studying through Unisa, needs funds to complete his studies.

“When these guys approached us, I asked them if they were prepared to do this and be part of this journey because it shouldn’t be only about giving bursaries. The campaign is about cycling for awareness so that people know that there are children who need what many of us are fortunate to have,” says Sayed.

He says the third cyclist, Aklilu Goitom Tesfagaber (22), who is from Eritrea, is a top cyclist. Roping him in to the epic ride is to show that the project is not only for South Africa but also for the continent, which GOTG is considering in its plan to expand the project.

GOTG’s chairman, Imtiaz Sooliman, describes the event thus far as “magnificent”.

“We went on a mission to emphasise and create an awareness of the importance of education in South Africa and in the process were overwhelmed with the response of South Africans,” he says.

Sooliman says they have been “embraced, hugged, encouraged, appreciated and motivated” by South Africans of all colours and religions.

Cyclists can register at any of the departure points to join a leg of the tour.

For details of the cycling tour, visit www.giftofthegivers.org

You can SMS “Coupon” to 39017 and R15 will automatically go to the education of a needy child, or SMS “Gift” to 31032 at a cost of R1,50 for an SMS to pledge a money gift of any amount.

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