By Duncan Mlanjira
By midday on Monday, over R4,500 had been raised of the targeted R30,000 through the charity marathon challenge done on Sunday by Malawian long distance athlete, Gloria Chitedze together with her South African colleague Ntabaleng Tsusane.
The two completed 45.5kms each on Sunday in a time of 4.59hrs in the Virtual Race of Legends challenge to raise funds to procure foodstuffs for children, whose parents have been affected by the COVID-9 lockdown due to job losses.
The two are appealing to well wishers to continue supporting them through https://www.backabuddy.co.za/dare2care-duo-90kms-for-children in order to reach their target of R30,000.
Chitedze has also challenged the South Africa and Malawian public to beat the pledge of R100/km done one company, whose identity she would announce later.
“We thank to all for their support so far,” Chitedze said. “There is no such a thing more admirable than a little act of kindness.”
The 35-year-old athlete from T/A Mkanda in Mchinji District, is based in South Africa and for the past six years she has been running under the banner of Atlantic Athletic Club (AAC) in Cape Town with which she has participated in over 10 full marathons and many half marathons.
This year she intended to take a mile further by participating in the taxing 90kms Comrades Marathon having felt she now has matured enough as a runner to give it a shot — only for COVID-19 to creep in and force the annual event to be cancelled.
Instead she has channeled her energy to assist 30 underprivileged and orphaned children of ages up to 13, based in the rural areas of Malawi.
In her post on www.backabuddy.co.za advertising her charity challenge, Chitedze said she came to know these children through fellow athletes when she was donating used sport gear to underprivileged sport-driven youths.
“A smiling child brings light to every home,’ she said. “Smiling children can shine the whole world. It’s in the eyes of a child where hope is often restored.
“To have a better world tomorrow, we have to teach the children, and no better lessons begins without love and care. To care for each other even in the midst of the hardest times.
“COVID-19 has stolen so much at the moment — dreams, hopes and smiles have been lost due to the impact of lockdown on most employees and small businesses.
“Children who were supported by those who lost jobs due to COVID-19 lockdown are getting the end of it.
“To teach a child love and care, you have to show them how it’s done,be the example you want to see.”
She described her colleague Ntabaleng as an “incredible warm-hearted friend, who decided to join me in support after hearing these kids’ stories and what makes it more beautiful is that, she is South African and helping me help the Malawian children. There is no greater love than that.
“Anything will help. It would be amazing if we can reach the target by 14th of July, as this is the date of the schools commencement in Malawi.
“Reaching my target will mean that I can manage to get all 30 children basic needs for school preparations and food for a month.
“R1,000 per child/month is reasonable for a start by Malawian living standards. The donations will mean that the children will have food on the plate, be protected from Coronavirus by the availability of masks and continue attending classes and doing sports.
“You cannot teach a hungry child and no child should go to bed hungry,” she said.
She is organising to provide 30 hampers of R1,000 each which will have essentials like masks, hand sanitizers, soap, solid nutritional meals and basic school necessities.