I am running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for the 2nd time on 6th October 2013, raising money for the charity closest to my heart: Habitat For Humanity. Why this charity? This is my story:
I was invited to a friend's wedding in South Africa. Cape Town and the stunning landscape dominated by Table Mountain certainly lived up to my expectations, but what I wasn't prepared for was the sprawl of makeshift shacks flanking the 10-mile road from the airport to the city, in which many thousands of families lived in unimaginable poverty. The sense of guilt and helplessness I felt conflicting with the privilege of being in such a beautiful country were difficult to forget.
That is, until the opportunity arose to participate in a Habitat for Humanity project in that township. The charity had been involved with the local community for 18 months, establishing a sustainable programme building solid, secure houses for families that desperately needed them - getting the families involved in "sweat equity" (helping other families get their own homes built), teaching basic home finance, and getting the whole community behind the vision that a proper place to live is the best step towards a better life, opening up opportunities for a better way to bring up kids, more prevention of illness and easier conditions to find a better job. That week, 100 international volunteers built 10 houses, working with local builders and the families. It was amazing to see how this project could transform the community, and brilliant to spend a week immersed in the open, friendly, hopeful culture of the township.
Over the last 5 years, my wife and I have been back to build another house each year. Standing on each new roof and looking out to see a sea of red tiles across the township rather than an ocean of random plastic, iron and leaky tarpaulins is a wonderful feeling I will keep with me for many years. I would urge all readers to get involved in a Habitat for Humanity project, even for a day. Helping to provide a family a decent place to live is one of the best things you could do. We can't go this year, so instead I'm doing things in the UK to try and raise money for the charity - such as this Half Marathon. Last year I managed 2 hours 3 minutes - hoping for under 2 hours this time!
So, if you feel like it, please help me raise some money for this charity. Thank you.
Some background on the charity:
Habitat for Humanity work in over 80 countries – in every continent (apart from Antarctica) helping people to escape poverty housing. Their vision is a world where absolutely everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
Home is the most important place in the world. It’s where we bring up children, share meals with friends and family, sleep and study. It’s where we turn to for protection for the storms of life.
But for 1.6 billion people home is not the safe place it should be, and too many families are trapped in the poverty cycle by the conditions in which they live. Habitat for Humanity is supporting these people, helping them to build or renovate homes and in doing so to break free.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.