As many as 800 people signed up to run the “Race for Survival” at the Johannesburg Zoo yesterday in support of children in South Africa and around the world that continue to die from preventable causes.
Every year in South Africa 50 000 children under the age of 5 do not survive. The high rates of inequality and poverty in South Africa greatly affect children’s survival and life chances. The campaign slogan “Growing up is hard enough. It shouldn’t be a race for Survival.” resonates with all of us.
According to Gugu Ndebele, Save the Children South Africa CEO “many of our children are still unable to access healthcare services because of distance, cost and safety. Children who live in the toughest places to survive often have to walk long distances to get to the nearest clinic or school. The aim of our race was to get members of the public to step into children’s shoes for a day to get a real feel for the barriers they face by running 10 km or walking a 5 km distance”.
The mood at the Zoo was jovial as runners, families and supporters turned up bright and early at 6.a.m. to “run for a worthy cause”. Children under the age of 10 participated in a 1 km fun run and dressed up as their favourite Zoo animals. Popular local DJ and presenter Bob Mabena lent his support to the campaign and was MC on the day. The event was sponsored by Dettol, the Johannesburg Zoo, Johannesburg City Parks and SABC Radio and all proceeds were donated to Save the Children South Africa.
For Ms Ndebele the day was reassuring. “To know that so many people in Gauteng were willing to give of their time and join us so early on a Sunday morning shows us how much our people care about children. The Race for Survival reminds us that no child is born to die and that together we can ensure that every child in South Africa survives and thrives! We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who came out to support the race.”
For interviews and further information, please contact: Karen Allan, Communications Manager, Save the Children South Africa, Tel: 012 430 7775 or 074 131 4041