Two Women running 2350kms along the Freedom Trail in South Africa

September 25 – October 26, 2014

The vehicle of “running” for social changeFind Out More

Did you know…

60
% of women and girls in South Africa do not have access to traditional sanitary products
30
% of South African girls do not attend school during menstruation
31.3
% of South Africans live on less than 1$ per day. The cheapest pads at a local store are approx $2 for a pack of 10

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Tell me more about Freedom Runners?…

 

Running on average 80km per day for 32 days on South Africa’s 2350km Freedom Trail, Mimi Anderson (UK) and Samantha Gash (AUS) will promote awareness of this issue and raise funds for the establishment of a social enterprise business.

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Latest Freedom Runner News…

Pozible.. is it possible?!

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I am so blown away by how incredible so many friends and strangers have been in support of our pozible campaign. Pozible is crowdraising platform and the Freedom Runners are working our butts off to raise $16K in 60 days.

In the past 17 days we have had $8,424 in pledges to our campaign.. As with these platforms unless we raise the $16K we won’t get ANYTHING.. big boooohissssss!!!

Here is the background to our project and how we plan to use the funds. We have a load of great rewards, so please check out our campaign, pledge your support and share the campaign link around.

Rewards + doing good… now that is definitely a great feeling.

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The Story of the Project
Freedom Runners was born over 2 years ago when Mimi suggested we run 2350km across the Freedom Trail in South Africa. We had never met before and I thought she was crazy for suggesting we do such a foolish thing..  2 years on, countless of skype calls, emails and a meet up in London,  the Freedom Runners Project is well and truly happening.

On September 25th this year Mimi Anderson  (52 years of age from the UK) and myself Samantha Gash (29 years of age from Australia)  are running 2350km across South Africa. The run will take 32 days and we plan to run an average of 80kms every day – that is 64 back to back marathons.

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The physical challenge is one thing but the bigger challenge is our goal to raise $50K (AUD) to establish a social enterprise business in the Free State province of South Africa. The social enterprise business will gainfully employ a dozen South African women to manufacture feminine hygiene products that will be distributed at low cost to around 1500 school girls in the community. The lack of affordable feminine products and social stigma towards menstruation is a limitation for girls in South Africa attending school and receiving education. Menstruation is a topic that people do not want to discuss – statistics show that 1 in 3 South African girls do NOT attend school during menstruation.

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This social business, which will be project managed by Save the Children in South Africa. Our goal is to work towards a sustainable solution to this issue. It is NOT a hand out – it is enabling South African women to empower each other through education. 

Our website for further information is www.freedomrunners.org

How the funds will be used (goal to raise a minimum of $16K)

  • 5% goes to Pozible
  • 70% goes to towards the establishment of the social enterprise business (this is a fifth of our total costs for the business). This money will be going to Save the Children who are the project managers of this business. This funds the wages, materials, machinery and education program for one year.
  • 5% goes to funding the Rewards
  • 20% goes to fund our digital awareness campaign during and after the expedition. With this we will be able to create fantastic content that will enhance our awareness campaign and enable us to reach the $50K for the social enterprise business.

The birth of Freedom Runners

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Freedom Runners LogoA dream was about to come true – I was off to South Africa.

I had always wanted to visit South Africa but had never had the opportunity to do so; that is until Max, Louise and I started training for the Marathon des Sables in 2000.  We were extremely lucky and managed to get sponsorship that covered all our kit, entry fees, flights and a couple of weeks training in hot countries.  Louise is a South African and had a house just outside Cape Town; so on the 8th December 2000 we landed in beautiful, sunny South Africa. Read More

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A bleeding shame: why is menstruation still holding girls back?

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#menstruationmatters

On the 28th of May a coalition of nongovernmental organizations celebrated the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Management Day. There are girls all throughout the world that lack awareness, face stigma and feel uncomfortable with one of the most natural things that can happen to their bodies. 

‘Girls’ right to education can be severely curtailed when schools lack bathrooms or clean water to manage menstruation or when students can’t afford sanitary supplies. UNICEF has estimated that 1-in-10 African girls missed school during menses, which contributed to higher school dropout rates for some girls. In Burkina Faso, a 2013 UNICEF case study found that 83 percent of girls had no place at school to change their menstrual materials. In Uganda, one study found that girls missed as many as five days of school a month because of inadequate sanitation facilities at school, lack of hygiene products and physical discomfort associated with their periods.
Photo Credit: NIKON / ANDREW KING

Fundraising Events

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We are super pumped that the lads from Good Guys Tri are hosting a screening of the award winning film Desert Runners as a fundraiser for the social enterprise business we are setting up in South Africa.

Details for the screening: 

  • When? May 17th at 2:00PM
  • Why? As motivation for Ottawa Race Weekend and Support an amazing cause – Freedom Runners
  • How much? $20+ donation (no tax receipt as this is an international charity – sorry)
  • Where? The Royal Oak at 180 Kent St (corner of Slater and Kent)
  • What else? Draw prizes and silent auction!

You guys rock!!! THANK YOU!

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What do menstruating girls NEED in schools?

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Attending school as an adolescent girl in the developing world provides more challenges than the threat of bullying, a lack of motivation to study and poor body image. Unicef did a study that took a snapshot of the state of education across the globe -

Current estimates place the number of out-of-school children at 93 million – more than the entire population of the Philippines . The majority of these children are girls, and almost 80 per cent of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Read More

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Stumbling Block to Girls Education

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In the Libode District of South Africa, 18% of girls did not tell anyone about their first period; 56% had difficulty communicating about periods with a significant mature female and; only three out of 489 students could talk to their teacher about life challenges.

Shrouded in mystery, menstruation for young girls in South Africa often ends up being a stumbling block for their education. 30% of girls in South Africa do not attend school during menstruation and on average skip four days of school every month. In the Eastern Cape, 40% of girls in Grade 9 drop out. Young girls are ignorant about sexual reproductive health because their parents and teachers do not talk to them about puberty and menstruation. Some teachers even send girls home when they menstruate. Read More

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‘Menstrual sanitation is not just a lady issue’ – New Internationalist

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“..investment in projects that directly support women and girls is essential to reducing poverty. In 2012, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that ‘the greatest return comes from investing in girls and women. When they are educated, they drive development in their families, communities and nations.’

Menstrual sanitation is not just a ‘lady issue’

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