The students at a Bonteheuwel primary school were treated to a special surprise by Non-profit orgainisation Lace Up for Change on Wednesday. Not only had the kids at Bramble Way Primary School received boeber and a hot meal, but also brand-new school socks, shoes and beanies!
Vice Chairperson Irafaan Abrahams said the organization hoped to lift the spirit of both students and teachers.
“Today we bring a message of education first. The importance of parents and honouring teachers. We just finished Ramadan but all that goodness and good spirit, we want it to let it filter through the rest of the year!”
According to their website, the NGO raises funds through sporting activities and “utilize the funds to uplift and enhance the lives of socially disadvantaged people through social development and poverty relief.”
Chairman Faizel Jacobs explained that a few years ago he was invited to participate in Chicago marathon as a cancer survivor, to raise funds for a Pediatric oncology centre being built in Palestinian. The following week he’d participated in the FNB 12-one whereby he and some colleagues pushed children diagnosed with Brittle Bones along a route. Jacobs expressed that it inspired him to make a change by combining sport and fundraising.
“The race itself was the best thing I could’ve done because seeing these kids and what they have to go through… there’s something I can do. Alghamdulilah, I managed to raise $1500 (for the Palestinian Centre) and I just felt that I need to do this at home. In that time, I’d met Irafaan and we took his ideas and my ideas and we registered as an organisation!”
Abrahams explained that it was his 15-year-old son, Hanaan, that wanted to assist less fortunate school children. They had opened up a bank account and made a facebook post about their decision.
“Hanaan said he always wanted to run the Argus Cycle tour with me. He thought the little hill that goes up to Pelican Heights was Suikerbossie, little did he know it was maybe just a krimmeltjie (grain) of sugar- nowhere close to the real Suikerbossie. So we decided to do the Argus and we’re not just going to run, but we’re going to try to do a project,” said Abrahams.
“When we got to UCT we thought that was the tour done and dusted, it was about three km into the race!” joked Abrahams.
But despite challenges, the pair preserved and reached the finish line.
“It was amazing- the vigor and the verve with which he took on the challenge. He’s never ridden more than 40km in the training rides. The hills were like mountains for him! This may just give him insight into how life is not just about yourself, it’s about giving,” said the proud father.
After many jokes from his father, young Hanaan told of what inspired him:
“I felt that I like to help people and make a change in communities. I don’t want children going home hungry. I told my daddy I wanted to run this (Argus) to help school children with socks and shoes. There was a small hill and my dad told me “this is not a hill” -Mullers Point is still coming up”. I thought “nothing can be worse than this” but when I got (there) it was such a challenge. My dad told me he (rather) wanted to put me on the bus but I told my daddy ‘no, I want to finish the race’. I felt if I didn’t finish I would disappoint everyone and I wanted to be able to say ‘I finished,’” he explained.
Acting principal Glyndis Enfield said she hadn’t even known what was being offered yet she was grateful.
“Irafaan came to me for the first time a few weeks ago and asked me ‘how many students are at your school?’. I immediately asked, are you coming to our school… and he said yes. And I just thanked him right there, I didn’t even know what he was doing but I was so grateful,” Enfield gleamed.
Irafaan explained that community members had recommended the school. Not only does the primary school cater for grades 1-7, it also has an aftercare that takes care of dozens of children ranging from babies to small toddlers.
“We never came to the school because we wanted to surprise them and after the Argus Tour- and a number of good hearted people who got involved in our sponsorship- we are here! The children will get new socks and school shoes, a bit of breakfast and a hot lunch.
The kids were overjoyed by the sandwiches, boeber and a hot plate of akhni.
“I’m completely overwhelmed by what happened here today. The learners don’t even know what happened, but their tummies are filled and they’ve received new school shoes… what an amazing gift, what a memory to put into their boxes! We say thank you to all those involved in coming out and put smiles in the hearts o=and faces of our students today,” thanked Enfield.
Abrahams expressed how projects like these benefits everyone involved, not just those on the receiving end.
“These are ways we cope with our everyday life. Every day we wake up and thank our Creator for another opportunity, sometimes 24 hours is too little. This just keeps us motivated and keeps is looking forward to positive opportunities. This is how we would like to live our lives, putting smiles on peoples faces and we want to continue in that way.”
Other projects they’re involved include:
• Working to raise R5 million for the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital which has a shortage of urgently needed equipment in the ICU. The hospital serves 25,000 children in the outpatients’ department and admits approximately 13,750 babies and children to its wards annually. There is however a need for specialized equipment and beds. Funds raised through races will assist this.
• Lace Up For Change works in collaboration with organizations such as Ihata Shelter, social workers and or counselors that assist Abused Woman and Children with trauma counselling and prepare them to participate in the road running races on the Western Cape Race Calendar.
• The Boeber Run is a monthly event where runners meet at various locations throughout the Cape Town region and run 5km’s to the nearest informal settlement. The 5km are representative of the 5 pillars of Islam and the 5 salaahs. On arrival, the homeless are fed a warm cup of boeber, and depending on the donations received, a sandwich, clothing & toiletries.
• In collaboration with The Brittle Bones SA there are also Wheelchair runs. This sees wheelchair bound patients with Osteogenesis imperfecta participate in running events. It aims to raise awareness about the genetic disorder which is characterized by bones that break easily.
Jacobs highlighted that Lace Up for Change is looking forward to bigger projects.
“I think there will always be a need for the drop-and-go as we’re doing here. But we need to give people skills. Not just the pupils but the community, give back their pride and dignity. We are exploring a few avenues to look at a few self-empowering projects In Shaa Allah.”
The principal emphasized that she hopes the children take a valuable lesson from the experience.
“During ramadaan we adopted the value of “Charity”. And what a better way to teach them than to show them exactly what it means! My wish for Bramble Way learners is that they pay it forward one day and that (be inspired) to be responsible citizens.”