GOING A LONG WAY FOR CHILDREN: Team HOPE: Cycling for Change’ participated in the annual 947 Ride Joburg Cycle Challenge on Sunday, 19 November 2023. The cycling team, initiated by the NGO – HOPE worldwide South Africa, was made up of its Country Director, Dr Marc Aguirre, Keith Marais, Logistics Manager and Selepe Phetla, a HOPE worldwide SA board member. They were joined by other riders including several team members from the Joburg Church of Christ.

HOPE worldwide SA is a national Early Childhood Development (ECD) NGO operating in communities across the country that focuses on supporting vulnerable children from birth to six years old. This is the most critical period in a child’s development and what happens in early childhood lasts a lifetime.

Team HOPE: Cycling for Change have been riding the race since 2016 and love the opportunity it gives them to raise public awareness about the importance of (ECD), raise funds for HOPE worldwide SA, keep fit and pursue their passion for cycling. The riders and organisation’s social media followers were encouraged to raise funds and donate towards supporting disadvantaged children in the country through the 947 Ride Joburg Cycle Challenge.

The race starts and finishes at the FNB Stadium in Soweto and covers a distance of 97 km through the streets of Joburg. It is the important, far-reaching work of HOPE worldwide SA that motivated the team to keep cycling as they participated in the race. Speaking about his experience, Dr Aguirre says: “What kept me going is the commitment to young children and securing their future. It was a tough race, but it reminds me that we can never stop or give up on making every effort to ensure better futures for the most vulnerable and their families.”

He adds that it takes a great team to stay motivated during training and to push through the tough sections of the race. Likewise, it takes great partnerships in the work we do to go the distance for children, and we a very grateful for the partners we have. “It is also vital that I keep improving, getting better at what I do both on the bike and in my work.”

HOPE worldwide SA is all about building the capacity of ECD centres and households to ensure children get the best possible start in life. It currently supports nearly 1400 centres and thousands of families. They provide a range of services to centres, including infrastructure and material support as well as training of teachers. It also has a national nutrition programme that provides nutritious food to ECD centres and households in highly vulnerable communities in South Africa with young children. The organisation also supplies food parcels to families with young children affected by disasters like floods and shack fires.

The importance of the nutrition programme cannot be overestimated as South Africa has high rates of child hunger. According to Dr Kath Hall, a senior researcher at the Children’s Institute, eight million children in the country aren’t getting enough nutrition. Large numbers of them are stunted which has a devastating impact on their body and brain development, so reducing their chances of future success.

HOPE worldwide SA is the main partner coordinating crucial relief efforts and responding to food insecurity through the far-reaching KFC Add Hope initiative. Money raised through KFC Add Hope is used by HOPE worldwide SA to buy nutritious food for children and their families. In addition to these food packs, funding from KFC Add Hope is also used to purchase FUTURELIFE® instant porridge, called UNITY meals, which are packed with essential nutrients.

Additionally, HOPE worldwide SA runs the Caregiver Learning Through Play (CLTP) programme in partnership with Save the Children, Ntataise and the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) which is supported by the LEGO Foundation.  CLTP provides training for caregivers and parents of children aged birth to six years which helps their children to learn through play at home. You can find out more by visiting, www.cltp.org

HOPE worldwide SA wants to assist as many vulnerable children as possible. If you would like to partner to bring hope by changing the lives of vulnerable children, please consider donating to HOPE worldwide South Africa at: https://hopeworldwidesa.org/donate-now/

For more press releases click here:  https://ngoconnectsa.org/category/press-releases/

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