As the country continues to grapple with COVID-19 pandemic, the concern over the less fortunate continues to rise. The anxiety and uncertainty however has not stopped people from stepping up; showing compassion and lending a hand to the most affected by the pandemic. Non Profit Organisations (NPOs) and ordinary citizens have reached out to communities helping them to cope with the effects of the pandemic. It is not only heart-warming to see this but very inspiring.

Themba Mathebula, a Vodacom employee and a social runner based in Gauteng Province is also taking a stand to make a difference. Themba started running in 2015 with the goal to lose excess weight and lead a healthy lifestyle. This time he has turned his passion for running to raise funds for a Cause close to his heart – access to education. Running shoes enable him an opportunity to run comfortably. However, many young learners in deep rural communities often have to brave the biting cold and rainy seasons barefoot as they walk to school to access education. Those who cannot bare the cold sometimes do not have any option but to dropout. Also, in rural communities young girls who don’t have adequate access to sanitary towels may be forced to stay at home during menstruation. It is estimated that young girls in rural areas can miss up to 50 days of school in a year as they are unable to afford sanitary products due to high cost.

As we approach the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Themba will be running for a purpose covering 450KM to raise funds for young boys and girls who cannot afford school shoes and sanitary towels. The run, from Centurion, Gauteng to his hometown in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga will be over 12 days, across two provinces, averaging 37.5 kilometres a day.

Themba shares with Tech-Talk what inspired him to start this initiative: “The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened poverty and unemployment and negatively impacting many parents in rural communities. The dire situation means that most parents are unable to afford school shoes or feminine hygiene products for their children.

“Coming from a rural community and having experienced the poverty first hand, I have decided to take action to help give a child an opportunity to dream, the same way someone enabled me.”

Themba believes that everyone can play a role to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders stay in school and give them a fighting chance for their dreams.

“I am inviting everyone to partner as CHANGE AGENT and help ensure that send at least 450 young girls and boys back to school with confidence to fight for their dreams and create a better future.” said Themba.

To donate: go to Back A Buddy: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/themba

Ready all about Run for School Shoes and Sanitary Towels on Tech-Talk.

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