Helping others reach the mountain top

By Drum Digital
29 October 2013

The world’s highest mountains are mere mole hills for Evelina Tshabalala

who has scaled some of the world’s highest and most treacherous peaks and she continues to push herself to her limits.

After summiting the world’s highest mountains including Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Elbrus in Russia and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak on Earth outside of the Himalayas Tshabalala is set for her biggest challenge yet: changing her community through sports.“Many [children] are without hope; they come from impoverished families where even if they dare to dream of a brighter future, there are no financial means of achieving a further education,” she says. Tshabalala believes that the lives of children can be changed through sport. This accomplished marathon competitor lives in the informal settlement of Joe Slovo on the outskirts of Milnerton in Cape Town.

The end result for many is drugs and alcohol which leads to crime. However Tshabalala refuses to accept this as the fate of the children in her community. After she leaves her job, where she works as a price operator in a clothes factory she takes the children running – mostly on the beach, as few have shoes to run in. She motivates them and distracts them from the temptations of drugs and alcohol.

From a very young age she gets them actively involved in sports. For those, who show great potential she spends her savings on buying them running shoes. She proudly boasts of one child whom she believes could be a champion.

“He is 11 years old and runs five kilometres in less than 19 minutes,” She is determined to see this child progress to provincial and national level athletics, knowing that a national champion would boost the community.

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