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Saturday June 23, 2018
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march 16

Mike Cowling's passion for running is obvious as he is one of only five runners that will be completing his 40th Comrades Marathon on 4 June 2017.

While this is a significant achievement on its own, Mike will be going the extra mile this year by raising funds for Charity through the "Race4Charity" initiative. Mike is passionate about making a difference in his community and we love it! Mike raised over R18 574 last year which greatly assisted the breakfast club for children attending Umsilinga Primary School. The breakfast club is facilitated by Mama Mntombi Community Projects which is a beneficiary of the Communtiy Chest working in the heart of Ezinketheni, an informal settlement. It is so sad to see so many children who are hungry - this daily breakfast is sometimes the only nutritious meal kids have. For the 2017 Comrades Marathon, Mike has committed to raising R40 000 which will go towards building two extra classrooms for a crèche called Selby Msimang which is located in the heart of an impoverished community of Edendale. Building additional classrooms will ensure that the 120 children at the crèche have the space they need to learn and grow. Please help Mike reach his target of R40 000 to assist the children of Selby Msimang.

Please follow this link to make a donation:


"Once again thanks to all of you for your contributions last year that resulted in a total of just under R20 000. The money went towards assisting the breakfast club which is run by Mama Mntombi's Community Project in partnership with the Community Chest. Over the past year this Project has ensured that all the children attending Umsilinga Primary School in the informal township of Ezinketheni get at least one nutritional meal a day. For many of them it is the only meal they will receive and it is additionally beneficial because it means that they will not go to school on an empty stomach. A lot of the food was sourced from gardens in the township. Well it is that time of year again with less than 90 training days to the 2017 Comrades. As many of you are aware I will be (hopefully) completing my 40th on the trot. I have decided to celebrate this by setting a goal of raising R40 000 for the Community Chest which is double last year's amount. It seems a bit daunting but I am ably supported by a wonderful team consisting of members of Comrades and the Community Chest who are all confident that the target will be achieved.

And that is where you come into the picture because ultimately without your support, it just won't happen.

This year the focus is going to be on Early Childhood Development (ECD) which is such a vital stepping stone to all-round development and school readiness of young children. Most children who are not exposed to it will end up being disadvantaged and are likely to be condemned to a second class existence for the rest of their lives. To this end the Community Chest is involved in a project with the Selby Msimang Pre-Primary School in Edendale. I visited it a while back and was pleasantly surprised. The school appeared to be well run and organised. All the kids were polite and disciplined and the Head Teacher (Ms Thembile Gule) and the teaching staff gave the impression of being dedicated and hardworking. However the problem confronting the school is that it is designed (and licenced) to accommodate 60 kids whereas it currently has over 120.

When asked how this had come about Ms Gule replied that there were no other pre-primary schools in the vicinity and she found it extremely difficult to turn children away. This is especially since the majority of kids are classified as "vulnerable orphans." Looking at the eager young faces and trying to envision their backgrounds I could see what she meant by not wanting to turn anyone away. And her problem is exacerbated by the fact there is a waiting list of 20 children that currently just can't be accommodated. The only solution is to build more classrooms and this is what this project is all about.

A tour of the school (which is an attractive and neat red brick structure) reveals that there is sufficient space for the additional classrooms. So the R40 000 that is (hopefully) raised through this project will go towards this objective. So with your contributions it will be possible to provide these much needed classrooms that in turn will enable the young kids to have a decent learning environment. It will also give the Head Teacher, Ms Gule, peace of mind because when we said good bye after discussing the Project with her she said: 'Now I can sleep at night'."