Stuart Armit has been volunteering at the Sinakekele Children’s home for abandoned babies for the last 16 years; now he wants to give back even more.
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa – Sixteen years ago, Stuart Armit started volunteering at Sinakekele Children. He was freshly twenty-one and needed to add some goodness into the world.
Over the years, he has watched as the children who started out as abandoned babies, grew into inspiring young adults. Many he cared for, still play a massive role in his life today.
He then met the love of his life, Sarah. In 2016, she challenged him to run a 5km race wearing a snoopy onesie. The goal is that he raise funds for a charity. Naturally, Stuart selected Sinakekele as his charity. Sarah’s school, ‘Little Leaders Preschool’ then challenged him to do the race in under 30 minutes, promising to match his donations for the children’s home.
“I started working at Sinakekele Children as a volunteer when I was 21, and have watched some of those children grow into phenomenal young people living their lives to the full. Mary, Jake and Simon were at the home when I started, and we are all still very close and in touch.”
After finishing his 5km run dressed as Snoopy, Stuart found a love for trail running. He started doing them more often. He then heard about the Karkloof 100 and 50-mile races and knew this was his next step. Setting the goal for himself, Stuart decided to dedicate the gruelling race to the children’s home as well.
“After beating that challenge, and surprisingly enjoying it, I started to run the KZN Trail Running events and heard about the Karkloof 100 and 50 milers through Andrew, the event organiser. Truth be told I entered this ultra race whilst eating a slice of carrot cake!
The training is gruelling, it beats me some days. Everything hurts and I find myself questioning the sanity of this race. Balancing my home life and training is difficult. It requires consistency and discipline, giving and understanding. Something that my family and I have grown towards together.
I decided to dedicate my race to Sinakekele Children, to raise a million Rand for them, because if I think training for this race is tough or traumatic, imagine how the women and babies they take in must feel daily with the challenges they face?”
Sinakekele Children is a home that genuinely changes the lives of abandoned babies. They take in the children that have literally been thrown away. Stuart says many have been found down pit toilets, wrapped in plastic and left in bins, abandoned at birth by addict parents. Many of whom suffer from neonatal abstinence syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome. Some are ravaged by malnutrition and have serious health complications from HIV to physical disabilities.
“A team of women traverse incredibly difficult situations to ensure that these babies and children are given a fighting chance, and future very different from the one handed to them at birth. The home strives to get babies adopted to loving homes, fostered or reunited with biological families if the circumstances allow.”
It was established in 2003 to provide a safe, secure and loving environment. Run by a team of dedicated women who care for each child’s holistic needs, from medical, educational, psychological and everything in between. Sinakekele is a transitional home for abandoned babies and children, who are waiting or eligible for adoption, fostering or reunification with their biological families.
“The babies and children we receive are often from extreme circumstances, rescued from pit latrines, wrapped in plastic bags and thrown into the trash, to being removed from addicted parents, or abandoned at their hospital of birth.
Many of our children present with neonatal abstinence syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, malnutrition and severe health-related concerns as well as the trauma related to abandonment.
We aim to provide each child with the life that they deserve, rather than the hand that they were dealt with at birth.
At Sinakekele we believe in raising the future, a future with hope and promise.”
With these wholesome values at the home, Stuart plans to help ease any financial strain they may feel buy raising enough money to keep the household running for a full year. He is calling his new challenge the “Miles for a Million”.
“I am the most excited about crossing that finish line, knowing that we achieved that #MilesforaMillion! Knowing that the work they do was worth every drop of sweat so that it can continue. I can’t wait to see my wife and family at the finish line and experiencing the exhilaration that comes from achieving a goal, beating the odds.
Trail running has changed my perspective, challenged me to be better, do more, see my diverse and breath-taking country and its people from a different viewpoint. I feel part of the land when I am out on a trail. And grateful, grateful and humbled.”
Stuart hopes to reach his goal by the time he crosses the finish line of the KK50. Already he has raised nearly R20,000 towards his R1 million.
Every cent counts and even if the goal isn’t reached, the money they do raise will make a big difference to the little lives at Sinakekele.
This time around, Stuart will have a little more time to complete the race, he is giving himself 18 hours to get it finished. He will push his body to the limit but it will all be worth it.
If you would like to support Stuart, you can do so via his crowdfund here.