Since 2012, when the first group of Wild Women took to the Wild Coast for a 100km, three day running adventure, the Wild Women on the Run team has raised over R500 000 for African Angels. That’s nearly 10 years of support from this amazing group of women.
Who are they?
The women who run are not selected based on their running ability – they are each gifted a ticket by a previous Wild Woman. There are only 20 tickets and each belongs to a Wild Woman for a maximum of three years, after which she regifts her ticket to a woman who she feels will benefit most from the experience. By this time, she has usually outgrown her ticket and moved on to other adventures. In this way the group has developed into a sisterhood where each participant interacts and develops meaningful, authentic relationships with the other members.
But why do they do it?
Kim van Kets, one of the founders of the event says, “Our original aim was to create a fun, non-competitive and nurturing environment for women to go out and have a cool multi-day adventure in a place of astounding natural beauty. We set off on our first run without fully understanding the enormity of what was unfolding. Wild Women on the Run has most certainly introduced women to the joy and freedom of running, but for the 82 ladies who have had the privilege of participating, it has also done so much more.
“Over the last 10 years I have watched as women transform their body, mind and spirit. I have seen some of them dig really deep, push through pain and build the kind of strength and confidence that they didn’t believe they were capable of. I have seen them face their fears (jumping off cliffs, swimming rivers, being vulnerable). I have seen them learn to play again after being responsible adults and holding things together every day for decades. I have seen them battle and win the fight against depression. I have watched women give and receive love and acceptance and truly celebrate each other’s successes and mourn their failures and I have seen women mobilise like an elite army to help one of their sisters who is in trouble. They have all inspired and motivated me on a scale that I could never have imagined.”
Passing on the blessings
The 2012 Wild Women group felt incredibly blessed and privileged to be able to be part of this amazing journey that they decided to use it as an opportunity to bless others. They selected two community projects which support both local women and children in the Eastern Cape area. Each woman who participates is asked to raise funds for the chosen charities.
African Angels was lucky enough to be selected as one of these charities.
When asked how they selected the charities they support Kim says, “We had two rules for selecting an initiative to support – it had to be local and it had to be for the benefit of women and children. It helped if the initiative was also run by a fabulous, dynamic Woman. Lou and African Angels ticked all our boxes. We don’t just raise money for our charities, African Angels and Bus Fare Babies, we aim to join their communities and to develop an understanding of their needs giving us an opportunity to also be able to offer support in non-financial ways such as with expert knowledge, connections, practical help and sometimes just a listening ear.
Our own Wild Woman takes on the challenge.
Our own Wild Woman takes on the challenge.
In 2016 African Angels’ very own Lou Billett was invited to join the Wild Women on the Run by Lucille van der Merwe, one of the Wild Women founders, and long-time supporter of African Angels.
Lou says, “That was the start of my love for running. After one of my first training runs I heard that Kim had turned to the group and looking far into the distance had asked, “Where is Lou?”. I resolved there and then to never be last or lost again. With the support of this amazing group of women I was able to complete 100kms over 4 days through some of South Africa’s most amazing scenery on the Wild Coast. Since then, I have entered some awesome trail runs, like the Namaqua Quest and the Rhodes Run, and nothing gives me as much joy as my morning run.”
Wild Women sponsor a new child every year
In 2018 African Angels decided that any funds raised by the Wild Women will be used to sponsor the primary school education of one female Angel every year. At each annual handover event, another girl and her family get to meet the Wild Women and share what it means to have their daughter receive an education at African Angels.
Lou says, “I would like to thank the Wild Women for all that they do for our African Angels – we feel their support, not just in terms of financial sponsorship, but also in the many other ways they provide confidence and hope to carry on educating the children of Chintsa.”
Our turn to give back – #Match1million
The Wild Women of the 10th year event want to harness their vast collective energy to reach R1 Million in sponsorship. They are asking us to help them #Match1Million. Do you know of a bold and visionary corporate sponsor (or sponsors) whose ethos will resonate with that of these amazing women and their woman and child based, Eastern Cape charities?
If you know someone who could get involved, donate or sponsor or want to find out more about Wild Women and their #Match1Million campaign please contact Wild Woman Kim van Kets on firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictures courtesy of Anine Koch)