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Sapinda Rainbow project seeking Clipper Race nominations

by Ruth Harrington on 25 Apr 2013
Vuyo Lutseke and Rebe Mongope, representatives of the Nelson Mandela ChildrenÕs Fund, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder and chairman of the Clipper Race, Lucia Shange, a previous participant of the Clipper Race, Dirk Van Daele, Executive Committee member of the Sapinda Group and Sam Parker, sponsorship manager for the Clipper Round the World (listing of names is from left to right) during the launch of the Sapinda Rainbow Project as part of the Clipper 2013/14 Round the World Yacht Race, pose for a photograph in front of the Neslon Mandela Statue on Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg, South Africa on April 25, 2013 © Barry Aldworth - Backpagepix http://www.backpagepix.co.za
The Sapinda Rainbow Project, initiated by the Sapinda group in co-operation with Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund will select eight young South Africans to take on the challenge of world’s longest ocean adventure, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and support the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

The Sapinda Rainbow project has been launched today in Johannesburg. It is an exciting and ambitious new initiative funded by the Sapinda group to identify young South Africans from across the country who could be future community leaders and will give them a unique personal development opportunity through participation in a life-changing global adventure and at the same time encourage them to become a catalyst and role model within their own respective communities.

The Sapinda Rainbow project is seeking nominations to find eight young people, aged 18-23, who will emerge from a rigorous selection process to each participate in one of the eight legs of the unique Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – the longest on the planet at 40,000 miles.

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.

The Sapinda Rainbow project is being endorsed by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund which will promote the opportunity throughout its network and encourage nominations from the communities it serves.

Sapinda Rainbow will in turn promote awareness of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust around the world during the year-long race which visits 14 ports of call on six continents. Each of the eight young people who participate in legs of the race will become ambassadors for the Hospital Trust, helping to spread the word about the initiative.

The Clipper Race was set up thanks to the vision of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world in 1968-9. He wanted people to be able to experience ocean racing no matter what their background. Forty-five years after setting off on that record breaking voyage he is still very much at the helm of the Clipper Race and will play an active role in supporting the Sapinda Rainbow project.

Sir Robin flew into Johannesburg from the UK especially for the launch. He said: 'I have been involved in a wide range of youth initiatives and have seen how powerful the experience of going to sea can be, taking on new challenges and responsibilities in a team environment. We have had a long relationship of bringing the Clipper Race to South Africa and I am really pleased that Sapinda has taken the initiative to make this happen.

'I am also very grateful for the support the project has received from the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Sail Africa and their community networks. It is good to know that this initiative will raise the profile of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, a vital and worthy project to build a children’s hospital that is comparable with the best in the world.'

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust was initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as a legacy project to provide world-class healthcare for all children of Southern Africa. The hospital will be a dedicated specialist hospital working on a referral basis – and no child will be turned away due to inability to pay. Currently in its planning and fundraising stage, the Hospital Trust aims to break ground later this year.

Says CEO, Sibongile Mkhabela: 'This partnership with Sapinda Rainbow and the Clipper Race is a special one for both the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. It is initiatives like these, where people are willing to literally go to the ends of the earth to achieve their dreams that motivate us in this mission to make Madiba’s wish to build a children’s hospital come true.'

Dirk van Daele, Sapinda Executive Committee member and CEO of Anoa Capital, participated in the 2009-10 edition of the Clipper Race and experienced first-hand how the event was used to develop young people from other countries.

He said: 'The Clipper Race is a unique event which changes lives. It was not only an incredible experience for me but I also saw how it developed young people from around the world in building their confidence and leadership skills. It inspired me to see how we could offer a similar opportunity to young South Africans who wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate.'

The Clipper Race is fully supportive of the initiative and is project managing the programme which includes a month in the UK in August to undergo final training before participating in the race start from the UK later this year. It will also support the young Ambassadors in raising awareness and fundraising for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

One person who can talk from their own experience about the benefits of taking part in the Clipper Race is Lucia Shange who spoke at today’s launch.

Shange became the first female Zulu representative to take part in the Clipper Race when she won a scholarship to take part in the 05-06 edition, sailing on board the Durban Clipper for the first two legs of the race from Liverpool to Brazil and then on to Durban before re-joining the boat in New York for the final leg back to the UK.

Shange commented: 'When I took part in the Clipper Race as a young woman eight years ago it had a profound impact on me. It made me realise what I was capable of doing and put life into perspective. I grew up on the streets of Durban and my experience made me even more determined to help street children overcome adversity through the ICare charity.'

She has subsequently becoming a role model for young disadvantaged children living in Durban and South Africa as a whole. Lucia has used her round the world sailing experience to educate young people on how to overcome the odds and achieve what seems to be the impossible.

Her skipper on that race was Craig Millar who now runs the sailing development initiative Sail Africa based in Durban which will also promote the Sapinda Rainbow project through its network; Millar will join Shange to support the selection process which will include a challenging weekend in Durban where a shortlist of candidates will be put through their paces, including sailing, as part of the final selection process.

The Clipper Race will start from the UK in late August and will arrive in Cape Town later in October.

For more information about the project and how to make a nomination visit: www.clipperroundtheworld.com/rainbow - The closing date for applications is Friday 31 May.
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