Laureus sporting legends Brian O’Driscoll, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers and Annabelle Bond joined by 100 inspirational fundraisers on Just Challenge trek through Drakensberg Mountains.
Drakensberg, South Africa – Members of the Laureus family have joined 100 inspirational fundraisers from around the world to trek 100km and raised over US$400,000 (over R5,7 million) to date to support the work of Laureus Sport for Good.
Rugby legends Brian O’Driscoll, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers, swapped their rugby boots for hiking boots to join experienced adventurer Annabelle Bond, South African TV personality Dan Nicholl and a group of inspiring people from around the world for the four-day trek through the stunning Drakensberg Mountain range.
Every cent raised by participants will go to support the work of Laureus programmes around the world: Active Communities Network (Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), Coolplay (South Africa), Mathare Youth Sports Association (Kenya) and the grantees supported by the Model City Hong Kong initiative. Each of the programmes uses sport as a tool to improve the lives of young people. From assisting them with education or employment to supporting young people with their mental health and wellbeing, all funds will be put to good use in bringing to life the positive power of sport.
Over the four days, participants were treated to the stunning views of the Drakensberg World Heritage site. Brian, Bryan, Jean, Annabelle and Dan joined participants in covering the tough terrain of the mountain range, trekking across mountain passes and walking through a game reserve alongside herds of zebra, antelope and giraffe.
Participants were also joined by young leaders from Coolplay, one of the programmes which will benefit from funds raised. Coolplay uses sport to equip children with the skills needs to manage the complexities, demands and pressures of everyday life. Four rugby coaches joined the participants during the trek, introducing them to the transformational power of the programme and thanking them for their generous fundraising efforts.
Laureus Academy Member Brian O’Driscoll, said: “It’s been an amazing week trekking through the incredible Drakensberg Mountains with 100 inspirational fundraisers. We’ve challenged ourselves, made memories for life and raised a huge amount of money for five life-changing programmes in the process. I’d like to thank everyone who took part, and each and every person who supported our participants with their donations, they really are going to make a difference.”
Laureus Ambassador Bryan Habana, said: “It has been a privilege for me to trek alongside these incredible people, raising over US$400,000 for Laureus-supported programmes both in here South Africa and around the world in the process. The bodies might be tired after 100km of trekking, but the impact these funds will have on young people around the world make everything worth it. The highlight for me was having the young leaders from Coolplay join us; they are proof that sport can transform young lives for the better.”
Laureus Ambassador Annabelle Bond, said: “I’m so proud to have taken part in this memorable challenge alongside wonderful people from around the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to reach summits and climb mountains throughout my career, and trekking through the Drakensberg to raise funds for a cause so close to my heart means the world to me. As Laureus Ambassadors, we have a collective belief in the positive impact sport can have, and the past week has reinforced that for me.”
Globally, Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 160 programmes in over 40 countries who all use the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage. Each programme Laureus supports is measured against charitable standards set out by the United Nations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Challenge Africa is the second Laureus-supported adventure Just Challenge have led, following last year’s Challenge Himalayas trek which raised over US$350,000 for Laureus Sport for Good. Just Challenge delivers life-changing adventures, for all abilities, with impact and meaning. They provide organisations with the opportunities to engage employees, clients and/or leaders through physical challenges.