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African Bank Sponsors RDA CountrySide Challenge.

Categories: COMPANY NEWS , Disability, Sport
SARDA & African Bank hosting the first ever Countryside Challenge in Africa this year from the 17 to 22 October at the SARDA Centre in Cape Town

The loose flexible body and improved posture attest to the success of the SA Riding for the Disabled Association’s formula, and Meluli’s happy mood at the end of each session is a wonderful bonus.  These constitute the precious blessings to us from SARDA.”  Mathokoza Nhlapo, a mother of a SA Riding for the Disabled Association (SARDA) Cape Town rider, Meluli Nhlapo.

Horse riding therapy is more than just about riding. Over the past 40 years, hundreds of adults and children living with physical and learning disabilities from the greater Cape Town area have benefitted from the free therapeutic riding lessons that the SA Riding for the Disabled Association have offered.

SARDA Cape Town was established in 1973 by Belinda Sampson and Joy Finlay according to the principles of the British RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association). It provides children and adults living with disabilities the opportunity to take free therapeutic horse riding lessons. Since its inception, SARDA Cape Town has grown from 5 riders to its existing 180 a week and has expanded to include two satellite branches in Sleepy Hollow, Noordhoek and  Sedgefield.

The event has been selected as one of Africans Bank’s staff driven Community Champion sponsorships and was proposed and championed by African Bank staff member, Stacey Baisitse. Baisitse, who was inspired by her 12-year-old nephew living with cerebral palsy,  has witnessed first-hand the incredible benefits from this kind of therapy and wanted to help support SARDA  in some way. What started out as a small involvement has grown into a meaningful sponsorship of the full six-day event.

Teri Smith, Senior Instructor, and Bee Lukey, spokesperson for SARDA, explained that the idea behind this event is to provide the opportunity for SARDA riders to show off the skills and the prowess they have developed through therapeutic riding classes in front of members of the public. “The confidence that every rider develops through this therapy and the recognition achieved by participating in an event in front of an audience, are a pinnacle of the hard work achieved at SARDA. It spills into the lives of the communities the riders live in,” says Smith.

SARDA Cape Town’s 180 children and adults living with disabilities will be participating in the obstacle course from Monday to Friday (17 to 21 October) between 09:00 – 12:00 and 14:00 – 17:00 each day and on Saturday (22 October) between10:00 and 12:00. All horse riders, including SARDA and non SARDA riders are invited to take part in this unique event. 

Brian Riley, CEO of African Bank, concludes, “We are so delighted to be associated with such an inspirational event.  Community involvement speaks directly to the Bank’s value of empathy as well as our brand purpose, ‘humanity through banking’ and we were looking for initiatives that could really show our commitment to adding value to the communities around us. We already have a comprehensive CSI programme in place as well as the many ad hoc projects which are encouraged at departmental level, but we wanted to include another volunteering part to our community commitment. This is how the ‘Community Champion Awards’ came about – we challenged African Bankers across the county  to identify projects that required financial rescue but did not necessarily fall inside the bank’s current CSI   geographical mandate. We applaud Stacey and SARDA for the incredible work they do and encourage everyone to come and support these riders and witness therapy in motion.”

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