As a yogi, I can twist myself into a pretzel with relative ease, chant Öm until I'm blue in the face and use my breath to get me through a lot of stressful situations. Will it stand me in good stead when it comes to running 21kms? We'll find out on the 9th of July when I run the Knysna Half Marathon.
As a fundraiser at The Pebbles Project, my job is to get people to donate to our cause, and I do it with pride and conviction because I believe passionately in the work that we do to enrich the lives of disadvantaged children in farming communities across the Western Cape, South Africa.
Why am I doing this? By running my first ever half marathon to raise funds for Pebbles, I'm letting my feet do the talking to show my commitment to the cause. I'm new to the running game and up until a few weeks ago, when I joined an informal running group with some school mums, thought I hated running. I have three whole training runs under my belt now and I have just purchased a substitute ticket for the race - on the very last day that one can still swap tickets out. So it must be a sign that I must do this thing. As I type this, I have 5 weeks to go until Race Day. It's going to be tight, but with your support, I think I can do it.
Who am I running for? I'll be running for my biggest supporters: my children, Isla (5) and Daniel (7). They are the same age as many of the Pebbles children, and - through an accident of birth - have had the kind of privilege and opportunities that many of the Pebbles children (over 1000) could only dream of. By pounding the pavements as they cheer me on from the sidelines, I will be demonstrating my conviction that the work we at Pebbles do will help to create a world of opportunities for their peers on the 26 farms that we work on, within communities strengthened and empowered by the very funds that you, my precious supporter, are so generously donating to see me sweat.
What exactly am I raising funds for? For many parents on the wine farms that Pebbles works on, the cost of sending their children to school is an enormous financial burden. Some children do not attend school, because they do not have the necessary stationery or the uniform that they require. You can help by sponsoring a school pack, which contains school essentials such as a school bag, school uniform, shoes, socks and a basic stationery set - all brand new, because it's such a big and proud moment for kids, it would not be fitting for them to get hand-me-downs.
Every R200 that you donate will pay for a brand new school pack for a disadvantaged child. R400 will pay for 2 school packs and so on. You can sponsor one, two, five or ten children, or as many as you wish. Maybe the company you work for will get behind this and sponsor 100. Or perhaps your kids can raise funds at school.... or your church wants to sell cake to put towards this fundraising drive...
If you are donating from abroad, for the sake of ease and roughly using the idea of the Big Mac Index of foreign exchange, I am asking you to donate 20 units of your currency, e.g. : £20 or $20, or whatever you can manage.
Each year we aim to provide a school pack for every:
Grade R child (6-year olds starting primary school)
Grade 8 child (13-year olds starting high school)
Grade 12 child (17-year olds in their final school year)
What you get in return: The South African school year starts in January. Once the school packs have been allocated you will receive photographic images of the child who receives the pack you sponsored.
If you prefer for your donation to go into our general pot, to help with the vital running costs of our organisation, please let me know. Unallocated funds are the holy grail for any non-profit organisation as they help ease the load of the ongoing running costs, rather than being earmarked for a specific project.
THANK YOU! I'm terrified but excited! Now excuse me while I pop out for a run....