An ambitious global campaign to help realise Nelson Mandela’s dream of a world-class children’s hospital in South Africa was launched yesterday in St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge, London, by a group of young people preparing to set off on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
The Sapinda Rainbow project has worked with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund to select a group of young South Africans aged 18-23 who will each sail one of the eight legs of the Clipper Race as part of their personal and community leadership skills development. During the 40,000 mile race to 16 ports on six continents they will aim to raise £20 million to help realise the last major legacy of Nelson Mandela.
“We are very pleased to be supporting this important project and to seek corporate support from around the world to help realise the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital,” said Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee Member.
“I have experienced at first hand the power of the Clipper Race to change the lives of crew and to inspire all who engage with this incredible human adventure. I am confident that the Sapinda Rainbow team will influence everyone they meet around the world with their own story and the vital need to build a worldclass children’s hospital in South Africa.”
Mr van Daele participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and saw how it developed young people from around the world in building their confidence and leadership skills. It inspired him to see how he could offer a similar opportunity to young South Africans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.
The Clipper Race is the only global sailing event that trains amateurs to take on the adventure of crossing some of the world’s most demanding oceans; it has a proven track record of personal development, especially with young people from challenging backgrounds.
Clipper Race chairman and founder, the legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, congratulated the Sapinda Rainbow team on successfully completing their extensive three-week training programme in the UK. He said: “I have been involved in a wide range of youth initiatives and have seen what a difference going to sea can be, taking on new challenges and responsibilities in a team environment. I am really pleased that the Sapinda Group has taken the initiative to make this happen.”
There are nearly 450 million children in Africa, and only four dedicated children’s hospitals (one in Cape Town, one in Nairobi, and two in Cairo). Initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has an immediate objective to raise funds to design, build and equip a children’s hospital that is comparable with the best in the world. This hospital aims to admit its first patient in November 2014.
The Sapinda Rainbow project and fund raising initiative has been welcomed by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. UK Executive Director Kathi Scott said: “This is a unique and innovative programme which has engaged with young people across South Africa through the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. It is already having a huge impact on the young people involved. The additional dimension of raising global awareness and substantial funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital project is absolutely fantastic.
“We look forward to supporting the Sapinda Rainbow team’s international fundraising effort around the world. The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital represents the ultimate legacy project as a living legacy and final tribute to his unbounded love of children. It will undoubtedly help to save many young lives and improve the health prospects for thousands of children.”
The Sapinda Rainbow team will sail aboard the Invest Africa yacht, one of a fleet of twelve 70 foot ocean racers which are set to depart from Tower Bridge in London on Sunday 1 September 2013.