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Bikers for mandela day 2014: take action against abuse

From 11 to 13 July 2014, Zelda La Grange, DJ Fresh, Saint Seseli, Angie Khumalo, Anele Mdoda, Alex Caige, Clint Cunningham and Johrne van Huyssteen donned helmets to take part in another Bikers for Mandela Day event. 1st for Women Insurance, via its charitable trust, the 1st for Women Foundation, supported the group of bikers on their 2014 Bikers for Mandela Day journey.

According to Zelda La Grange, Madiba’s former assistant and the Patron of the 1st for Women Foundation, “In South Africa, violence against women continues, unabated. With this in mind, we dedicated our 2014 journey to the survivors of gender-based violence. We want to encourage more women to speak out, to take action, to follow through so that their perpetrators can be brought to book.”

The bikers that participated in the initiative supported organisations that assist survivors of gender based violence and rape in Diepsloot, Vryburg, Kimberley and Bloemfontein. They were joined by a large contingent of local bikers. “Since 2005, the 1st for Women Foundation has donated over R30 million to a number of women-related charity organisations that focus on gender-based violence and cervical cancer.

Thanks to our customers who automatically donate a portion of their monthly insurance premium to the 1st for Women Foundation, we have managed to help over 150 000 survivors of gender-based violence through public advocacy training, community dialogues and workshops. Bikers for Mandela Day is another way for us to give back, to illustrate the collective power of women and to make a tangible difference,” says Robyn Farrell, Executive Head of 1st for Women Insurance. On 11 July 2014, the biker team departed from 1st for Women’s head office in Fourways and headed for Diepsloot.

There, they partnered with the founder of 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day, Carolyn Steyn, and Afrika Tikkun, an organisation that is dedicated to investing in education, health and social services for children, youth and their families through its community centres of excellence and strategic partnerships. At Afrika Tikkun, the team distributed hand-made blankets to 67 Diepsloot-based beneficiaries. From Diepsloot, they headed off to the Caritas Community Focus organisation in Vryburg. There, the team spent 67 minutes packing rape survivor care kits and painting the organisation’s contact details, and anti-abuse artwork, on the perimeter wall.

The 1st for Women Foundation also handed over a cheque for R100 000 to Caritas Community Focus. This organisation is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of those affected by poverty, drug abuse and domestic violence. On 12 July 2014, the bikers travelled to Kimberley and, for 67 minutes, spent time packing rape survivor care kits and cleaning up the grounds at the Grace Divine Outreach Centre. The 1st for Women Foundation also handed over a cheque for R100 000 to the Centre.

The Outreach Centre provides short-term safe house accommodation for rape survivors and offers the survivors counselling, court preparation and support, HIV testing and counselling and aftercare services in association with the Galeshewe Thuthuzela Care Centre. On 13 July 2014, the team stopped over at the Nelson Mandela statue at Naval Hill in Bloemfontein.

With this being the 1st Bikers for Mandela Day since Nelson Mandela's passing, the bikers stopped here to lay down 67 roses and have a moment of silence in Madiba’s memory. Thereafter they headed off to support Bloem Shelter. This shelter cares for 90 to 100 homeless people daily and provides accommodation for babies, pregnant women, children, families, single women, the elderly and men. The reasons why people are taken to Bloem Shelter include abuse, addiction, financial difficulties, mental problems and human trafficking.

At this organisation, the bikers spent 67 minutes painting a jungle gym, painting the perimeter wall, filling the sandpit, painting the roof to a newly constructed undercover parking, fitting a new washing line and fitting brand new grocery shelves to the pantry. The 1st for Women Foundation also handed over a cheque for R100 000 to the Shelter. “We encourage all South Africans to make every day a Mandela Day. There are so many simple ways we can do this and the great thing is that it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a cent. Acts of kindness like volunteering at your local charity organisation or reading to those that can’t – it all counts,” says La Grange.

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