“You must face challenges for you to grow”

26 March 2016

“I think this experience will have a big impact on me and my community when I get back home. I think it will show that you can achieve and stand up for yourself and your future, take one opportunity at a time. I want to show people that in life, not all things come easy, you must face challenges for you to grow, you have to fail before you succeed.”

Meet 23-year-old Boitumelo Charlotte Maila, who set sail from Qingdao, China across the world’s largest ocean to Seattle, USA for Race 9: The Seattle Pacific Challenge 6 days ago. Having never been on board a boat before joining the race, Charlotte is one of eight young South Africans aged 18 to 23 to take part in the race as an ambassador for the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation.

Charlotte, from Dennilton, Limpopo Province in South Africa is racing on board IchorCoal and is the sixth ambassador to take on the world’s oceans in the tenth edition race. She says: “I am so excited and I am looking forward to learning and working with people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions around the world.

“I think the most challenging thing for me will be if I get seasick, I was quite seasick on the race training but I am willing to learn and get stuck in so I think that will help. I think I will bring courage and motivation to the team. My fellow ambassadors have given me lots of advice about the good and bad experiences such as the storms, the coldness and communicating with the team. I definitely think I will learn some new things about myself. I am hoping to get mentally stronger as an achievement for taking part in the race.”

Charlotte was born and raised in small village of Elandsdoorn. She lost her mother in 2002 whilst doing her Grade 4, leaving her alone with her sister who later moved to Witbank. Charlotte was identified through the Ndlovu Children’s Programme and her involvement in Ndlovu Choir kept her away from the street and distracted her from the pressures of life faced by many young people. She is currently doing kick boxing to keep healthy and recently completed her Matric and says that when she completes her race she is determined to impact young people from her community and further her studies.

She says: “My friends, family and community are excited that I am doing the race and that someone from my community is doing something different. It’s a motivation for the young people, especially to the dropouts and the young teenage parents, and they are looking forward to meeting me and hearing about my journey when I get back.”

Charlotte and her fellow Sapinda Rainbow Foundation ambassadors come from a wide range of challenging backgrounds across South Africa. The opportunity, funded by the Foundation, aims to provide new personal development skills to the ambassadors that they can give back into their communities and use to inspire others. They will be supported by mentors beyond their Clipper Race experience to help them pursue their career goals.

Each ambassador is helping to raise awareness and funding for innovative research into the long term effects of HIV treatment by the Ndlovu Care Group in Charlottes home Province of Limpopo, where one in five of the population is infected with the virus.

To find out more about the Sapinda Rainbow Foundation, click here.

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