Walking the talk with Rand Aid

Bianca Richards (left), the Ron Smith Care Centre occupational therapist, was one of the most colourful Rand Aid walkers.

A large contingent from the non-profit organisation Rand Aid Association donned black and lime green T-shirts and took to the streets of Johannesburg to promote active ageing and create awareness of their organisation at the MTN Walk the Talk with 702.

Founded way back in 1903, which is the year of the Wright Brothers’ legendary flight, Rand Aid is still going strong. This year, it was one of MTN Walk the Talk with 702’s official charities.

Rand Aid Association was started to help destitute people after the Boer War.

The Star of March 10, 1903, reported: “A government department created by Lord Milner, the Refugee Aid Committee, and the Present Help League, which was created by Rev Kelly in Central Avenue, Burghersdorp (Fordsburg), were today merged under the auspices of Lord Milner and the Rand Aid Association was founded with Lord Milner as honorary president.”

Today, 115 years later, Rand Aid continues to do its good work, helping vulnerable elders and those battling substance abuse. It manages four retirement villages, two frail care centres, a treatment centre for people with substance abuse problems and a home for the deaf.

Support services include Cookchill, the catering arm that prepares 35 500 meals a month, the stores, central workshops and the laundry.

All the complexes are situated in and around the Lyndhurst area, just outside of Johannesburg.

Rand Aid employees of all levels and a few residents took part in the 5km walk.

Also, present on the day was Tracy Pretorius, aka Aggie Hatrick, the character created by Rand Aid to give a voice to more mature people.

Married to Gerry Hatrick, Aggie is also known as Hip Op Granny because, despite bones that are not as flexible as they once were, she refuses to let advancing years get the better of her.

She firmly believes that you don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

“In order to keep moving, you’ve got to keep moving,” is one of her favourite sayings.

“It was wonderful to see so many of Rand Aid’s team out and about,” said Hatrick.

Ayanda Matthews, Rand Aid’s GM Compliance & Social React Division, who also did the walk, says: “The cohesion, the camaraderie and the team spirit were unparalleled.”

“Rand Aid’s people have so much passion and va va voom,” said Rand Aid employee and walk co-ordinator Neeri Stroebel.

For further information on Rand Aid, visit www.randaid.co.za.

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  AUTHOR
Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist (Edenvale)

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