Ironmen build pool for Khayalethu youth

2016-03-23 06:00
<Some of the residents of the Khayalethu Youth Centre jump exuberantly into their brand-new swimming pool which was donated to them by the Ironman 4 the Kidz Charity Trust.   Photo: THEO JEPTHA

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AFTER a tragedy seven years ago, the children of the Khayalethu Youth Centre have something to smile about again.

Thanks to the Ironman 4 the Kidz Charity Trust, this children’s home now has a swimming pool, which was opened recently with a splash party.

“The excited boys could not wait to play in the water and have been closely watching the progress with the building of the swimming-pool these past weeks,” said Dr Marietjie van der Merwe, director of the centre.

“We are so blessed by all the assistance we have received from the trust as well as by all the effort that went into building the pool for us.”

This month is the seventh anniversary of the death of a resident of the children’s home Tebogo Poka. Tebogo (15) drowned during an excursion to Dodd’s Farm while trying to rescue a girl who was in trouble. His death has, however, not been in vain.

“It has always been one of my biggest dreams that our Khayalethu boys must learn to swim, but we have never been able to afford it,” said Van der Merwe.

“Last year Catherine Elliot of Aquabears Swimming School offered to train our boys to swim and they have been going every Thursday after school for lessons,” she said.

And now they have a pool to enjoy their newly acquired skills in.

According to Julia Banach, administrator of the Ironman 4 the Kidz Charity Trust, every charity organisation that they support has a wish list and last year a swimming-pool was on Khayalethu’s list.

“The proposal for a swimming-pool was accepted by all those involved since it is beneficial to the community and swimming is good exercise.”

The trust is an official charity organisation that is part of the Ironman event held in Port Elizabeth every year. The trust was established in 2005 by former Springbok Garth Wright and his business partner, Gary Stephenson.

The aim of IRONMAN 4 the Kidz is to help and raise awareness of the plight of children who are less fortunate and often come from dysfunctional family backgrounds through participating in the Ironman event.

According to Wright he has always had the simple dream of helping children who are not able to help themselves. “When I was chosen for the Springbok team, my dad asked me how I was going to use my privileged position to help others. One day it just dawned on me that I wanted to help kids. That is what is valuable to me.”

And after the ribbon was cut at the opening of the swimming pool, the children showed just how much they valued the donation by jumping in with a big splash.

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