Singakwenza honoured to be Eight Mile Club beneficiary

2015-02-05 00:00

THE Eight Mile Club will touch the lives of local children as it pledges support to Hilton-based charity Singakwenza at this year’s Midmar Mile.

Among the list of larger NGOs, including PinkDrive, The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, Childhood Cancer Foundation and the Wildlands Conservation Trust, Singakwenza comes on as a true local beneficiary of the race.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Singakwenza director Julie Hay said the organisation was truly honoured to be a beneficiary for the first time.

“Considering we are among a group of phenomenal national charities, it’s quite amazing. It is a local race supporting a local charity,” Hay said.

Singakwenza runs an early childhood development programme that is unique in its approach. Working with children aged one to five, it utilises recycling to make toys and teaching materials as educational tools at a crucial phase of childhood development. As an example, bread bags become skipping ropes, milk cartons become catchers and polystyrene trays become puzzles.

“Considering that kids develop 80% of their brain potential during those years, it is critically important to reach them at that age,” Hay said.

Through the Waste2Toys workshops, Singakwenza’s trainers show crèche teachers how to recycle certain waste into toys, which then facilitates the right stimulation of young children.

The Hilton branch of Singakwenza currently supports 12 different crèches, all the way from Eston to Winterton, touching the lives of more than 400 ­children in the area.

According to Hay, over 12 000 ­children have benefitted from the ­nationwide Waste2Toys workshops in the past year alone.

Being a beneficiary of this year’s Eight Mile Club has allowed Singakwenza to employ an occupational therapist this year, which Hay believes is invaluable to the children they care for.

“It gives us a chance to help these children and identify if they need specific medical or educational assistance. ­Without it, these children might only receive special care when they get to junior school, which is too late.”

Twenty Eight Mile swimmers have pledged the proceeds of their swims this year, including Hay herself — leading by example. Like all the other Eight Mile participants, Hay had to raise a minimum R10 000 to be eligible for all eight events.

Eight races may be gruelling, but Hay said she would be taking it slow.

“I am fitter than I was last year,” she joked. “I am feeling confident, but I ­certainly won’t be leading the pack.”

What is more, Singakwenza trainer Sthembile Magwaza will be swimming her first Midmar Mile this year, just two years after she first learnt to swim.

With the help they will receive from this year’s race, Hay hopes that the ­charity will continue to grow and benefit the lives of the country and continent’s children.

If you are interested in helping Sing­akwenza, visit

Alternatively, Singakwenza accepts clean recyclable waste at the Hilton ­headquarters.

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