Chevrolet Ute Force, a varied team of skilled experts, is supporting Lighthouse Run which includes a group of four women athletes running 1 200km along South Africa’s coast, the equivalent of a marathon a day for six weeks, to raise awareness about abuse against women and children.
Lighthouse Run seeks to raise R1 million to help victims in immediate danger through funding and participation in existing non-governmental organisation (NGO) initiatives, and in a second phase to provide rehabilitation for abusers and communities through empowerment programmes.
“Women and children are central to South Africa’s communities and in many rural areas are at the greatest risk of a spectrum of abuse,” says Tim Hendon, Chevrolet brand manager at General Motors South Africa. “Although many organisations in South Africa bring attention and aid to this cause it continues to escalate and be an issue. By helping Lighthouse Run we are working together to establish a lasting and meaningful impact across a swathe of South Africa’s neediest communities.”
The run begins on November 17, 2012 at Umhlanga Rocks in KwaZulu-Natal and aims to finish on December 29, 2012 at Paternoster in the Western Cape, visiting every lighthouse en-route. A community service support team will accompany the runners to provide logistical support and deliver support to communities en-route. They will include a team of subject matter experts working under the guidance of Dr Eugene Viljoen, a 22-year clinical psychologist veteran who specialises in psychiatric illnesses, trauma and relationship counselling. The team’s interactions will include one-on-one counselling, workshops, group sessions and public appearances.
Chevrolet Ute Force will provide sponsorship to be used for various fuel, accommodation, and other logistical requirements while two Chevrolet Utility bakkies will carry various essentials such as food, water and equipment, and marketing support services. Marketing support will consist of a video crew from Bolton Inc who will produce documentaries which will be hosted at www.uteforce.co.za. A blog will be hosted at www.lighthouserun.co.za, updates will be made to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/LighthouseRunand a Twitter channel will be available at @LighthouseRun. Chevrolet Ute Force updates can be followed by going to www.facebook.com/Chevroletsa, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/chevroletsa by searching #uteforce.
Bridgette Bolton, creative producer for Chevrolet Ute Force, says: “Lighthouse Run hopes to touch the communities it visits. We have professionals with us who can cover a range of topics about abuse. We will be extremely sensitive to the uniqueness and nuances of each area we visit. We don’t have a one-Band-Aid-fits-all approach because each community has different needs. We’ll focus on ensuring good is done immediately and in the long term, so this is another clear case of Chevrolet Ute Force helping South Africans who are helping themselves.”
Lighthouse Run will raise funds throughout the duration of the campaign through donations, sponsorships, SMS lines and the sale of Lighthouse Run memorabilia. One item of memorabilia will be a book that documents the journey and includes inspirational snippets and guidance with each chapter headlined by a specific lighthouse visited. Lighthouse Run will repeat in 2013, seeking to include one or more additional countries in 2014, and then to extend to one run per continent by 2016.
It is the brainchild of Retha Schutte. She is one of four athletes who will perform and she is involved in education, is an entrepreneur, and owner of Desktop Executives, a computer training company founded in 2000. She has completed 24 marathon and ultra-marathon runs. Alongside her will be Machelle Bremer who also has her own business in the beauty and wellness industry and is the sole owner of Medilaser. She has completed a total of 37 marathons and ultra-marathons in her time. The third runner will be Lindsay van Aswegen, full-time employee at a bank and three-times Comrades gold medalist who has completed over 50 marathons and ultra-marathons. The fourth and final runner will be Lena Faber, previously a journalist from Moscow, Russia, now living in South Africa, who won a team silver medal in the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championship for the 10km walking event and who placed second in her age category of the Gauteng Trail Series. The team of runners will complete 42km runs for 42 days in a relay.
“Darkness is abuse’s best friend; abuse is an evil that operates below the surface and out of sight of the protectors,” says Schutte. “The lighthouse guides vessels in times of darkness, navigating a path away from the dangers that lie below the surface. We believe the South Africa of tomorrow should be a better place for all, by reducing the high levels of aggression and abuse in communities in the many different parts of South Africa.”
Included in Lighthouse Run’s team are Kudzai Shoko, life coach and pastor at Fathership in Africa; Herman Schutte, emotional intelligence and conflict management specialist and an experienced facilitator; Christa Loots, the owner of training and coaching company Breakthrough Empowerment, who will write the book, Dr Melanie Kruger, medical and nutritional consultant and owner of Wapadrand Medical Clinic who has already been working with the runners, and Louise Lacant, owner of Louise Lacant Photography, who will sponsor all photo shoots for marketing purposes.