In an adventurous move to assist children born with facial deformities such as cleft lip and cleft palates in Namibia, 19 bikers on Saturday embarked on an awareness creation tour to Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi Region.
The bikers, all men, and their backup teams will travel on motorbikes to Katima Mulilo and back, a distance of about 3 000 kilometres. The tour is sponsored by the Nampharm Foundation. During the tour the bikers will hand out pamphlets on the foundation, as well as create awareness on the need to raise funds for children born with facial deformities. The route will consist mainly of gravel roads and the bikers are expected back in Windhoek this coming Saturday. They have also identified spots where they will rest whilst on their seven-day biking adventure.
To take part in the riding adventure, the bikers paid an entry fee of N$7 500. All riders had to bring a sponsor on board for N$5 000 or more, explained Marius Gouws, the marketing director of Nampharm who is one of the riders. “Most bikers brought in more than that,” said Gouws.
The bike ride to raise funds for children born with facial deformities started three years ago, Gouws explained. This year about N$270 000 was raised through the entry fees and sponsorships. The money will be used to fund the treatment of children born with facial deformities throughout the country.
|Fast facts: Biking Tour on Deformaties|
|Number of bikers||19|
|Dates||14th to 21st September|
|Distance||3 000 km|
|Route||To Katima Mulilo then back to Windhoek|
Noting that a facial operation is costly, he said many parents who have children with facial deformities cannot afford to pay for the operations. An operation of this nature costs between N$5 000 and N$8 000, Gouws said. Gouws added that a surgeon who operates on these children does not get paid. “We only pay the hospital,” he added.
So far, about 40 children born with cleft lips and cleft palates have benefitted from this initiative since 2011, said Carol Semedo of the Nampharm Foundation. Hein Venter, who is also taking part in the ride, is the managing director of Paramount Health Centre. Venter who spoke passionately about children said he sees many children born with diseases and seeing some of them benefiting from this project makes his “heart beat”.
Joyce Namuhuja, the programme officer in the office of the first lady conveyed the First Lady Madam Penehupifo Pohamba’s well wishes to the bikers just before they embarked on their journey on Saturday. Madam Pohamba is the patron of the Nampharm Foundation. “We thank you for the support you are giving to Namibian children, those children born with illnesses,” Namuhuja said.
Date: 17 September 2013