Running for girl power

India Baird, the founder of Brave Rock Girl, was joined by 26 girls and young women on her fund-raising run in Manenberg.

India Baird, the founding director of Brave Rock Girl, has run more than 600km in 30 days to raise funds for the non-profit organisation that provides leadership training to girls in Manenberg.

The international human-rights lawyer challenged herself to run 600km in 30 days in celebration of her 60th birthday, and she asked people to donate to the organisation instead of giving her gifts. By the time she celebrated her birthday at the end of December, she had completed 646km.

On Friday January 12, she ran a further 6km with 26 girls and young women at Manenberg’s Red River Primary School, where the organisation was founded in 2010.

“It was an honour to spend time with each of these ambitious girls and devastating to see that the conditions of their community continue to be a threat to their very existence at times. I’m grateful to all who donated to Brave Rock Girl the last few weeks and all those who have supported us over the past 14 years,” she said.

Annually, through its Champions for Change and Daring Disa – Girls in Conservation programmes, Brave Rock Girl supports more than 90 adolescent girls and young women who live in a community where unemployment, gang violence and school drop-out rates are high. Last year’s activities included trips to nature reserves, surfing, and visits to the Jazzart show at Artscape, the Norval Foundation and the District Six Museum.

One of the girls, Amy-Lee Petersen, 18, said: “It meant a lot to me to participate in the run because we can get more funds to go on micro-adventures to learn and gain new knowledge. I don’t have many opportunities to walk outside because it is unsafe, and so I am only able to meet other girls and make friends through church and Brave. Brave Rock Girl gives me and other girls a safe space to talk and learn skills.”

Email Audery@bravesa.org.za or Lorna@bravesa.org.za for more information about the organisation.

India Baird leading the pack in the 6km run at Red River Primary School in Manenberg.