The event has been selected as one of African 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 benefits from therapeutic horse riding and wanted to help support SARDA in some way.
Says Brian Riley, CEO of African Bank, “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 country 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.”
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 five riders to its existing 180 a week and has expanded to include two satellite branches in Sleepy Hollow, Noordhoek and Sedgefield.
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, 17-21 October, between 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm each day and on Saturday (22 October) between 10am and 12pm. All horse riders, including SARDA and non-SARDA riders are invited to take part.