In November 2001 along with Jean Martin I ran the New York Marathon alongside Niall Fitzgerald the then Chairman of Unilever. His goal which he achieved was to raise US $ 1 million which was an incredible achievement.
The prize for accompanying him on the run was he agreed to allocate US $100 000 to Unilever South Africa and asked us to use the funds to set up a charity with a focus on children. Out of this was born Thokomala which was set up by a small team of extremely committed Unilever SA employees and in 2012 it will celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Thokomala means ‘warmth or care’ in isiZulu is based on the simple yet effective model of community based child care. Children orphaned by the HIV and Aids pandemic are placed in their community of origin into a normal family environment where they receive all the love and nurturing care they require. Thokomala sets up these houses which become homes to six children (preferably sibling groups) and a loving foster mother. The success to date has been very encouraging and on the web site you will find some heart-warming stories of just what has been possible – www.thokomala.org.za
This year is the 10th anniversary of Thokomala and there are a bunch of Unilever runners who will run either the Two oceans Half or Full marathon to raise funds. It seems fitting that having had a hand in raising the funds to kick start Thokomala and that I am 56 years old and the race distance is 56 km I should be having a go and putting my best foot forward.
So on April 7th I will be lining up for the 56km and would like you to make a donation to the cause to give me the added incentive to get across the line. The Baillie family and Niall Fitzgerald who has very kindly joined in will each donate up to R100 000 (Euro 10 000) to the cause but want the funds to be used on a match basis. In other words for every Rand you donate we will match it up until R 200 000 of donations have been pledged. The combined Unilever team is looking to reach R1, 000,000 and this will go a long way towards this goal.
Yvonne, Murray and Ross will also be running the half so it will be a real family affair.
Any support you can give Thokomala would be greatly appreciated. I promise you a step by step, and am sure very painful account of the day when finished!
Just go to http://gigaf.org/AznVEC and follow the read more link and the rest is easy.
This project benefits "Two Oceans leading into COMRADES Marathon!" , a program of Thokomala Orphan Care Organisation.