SPAR Eastern Cape will continue its role of caring for the community when the Virtual Women’s Challenge takes place in the province on September 4.
The traditional format has been scuppered this year by the Covid-19 pandemic but the national retailer is determined to ensure that those in need are not forgotten.
The beneficiaries in 2021 will be Masimanyane and On Eagles’ Wings, organisations that tie in with SPAR’s pledge to lead the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and to provide support to the less fortunate.
At the Virtual Challenge launch, SPAR EC managing director Angelo Swartz reaffirmed the retailer’s commitment to supporting women and families.
“Our core values revolve around business, family, passion and entrepreneurship, and in that women and family play a massive role. The Women’s Challenge is the epitome of what we see in supporting women in our community as we strive to bring families together.”
Swartz said, as a brand, it was important not to just pay lip service and reiterated that, in the past year, the company had invested heavily in supporting causes about issues which affect women and children.
“We have taken up our president’s call with a campaign to end gender-based violence.”
To this end, he said, the retailer had partnered with several organisations to ensure that women in need or who are victims of GBV can find support at SPAR stores.
Masimanyane, started in 1996, has developed into a worldwide movement fighting for women’s rights.
“The initial idea was to have a support system for women who are survivors of domestic violence and rape,” explained executive director Lesley Ann Foster.
“But, over 25 years, we have grown into a global organisation. We are essentially an equality and social justice organisation which is locally rooted but globally connected.”
Foster said Masimanyane focused on violence against women and address this by investigating all the factors that contribute to it.
“We want to see women living lives that are equal and where they are respected as citizens of this country, free from all forms of violence – that is the ultimate goal.”
In a similar vein On Eagles’ Wings, under the leadership of Mercy Cwayi, has been operating in the Kouga municipality for the past 14 years.
“In South Africa, gender-based violence is seen as a second pandemic, causing many families to be dysfunctional, which affects women and children the most,” she said.
“We have a multi-purpose facility in Jeffreys Bay to assist those in need, providing services for women and children in counselling, socio-economic skills and shelter.”
Subject to lockdown regulations, participants in the SPAR Virtual Women’s Challenge will run or walk their own route over any distance on September 4.
Entrants will receive an email in which access will be provided to this year’s digital magazine.
South African entrants will receive a virtual challenge pack containing a race T-shirt, buff and medal. This can be collected from their chosen SPAR store or delivered to a specified address at an additional cost.
Entries close on August 15, with the cut-off at 75 000 participants.
For guidance on entries and more event information, visit www.sparvirtualchallenge.co.za.