Women on the move

The sportsfield out in Hangberg is one of the locations used for the free sports programme hosted by Ubuntu Charity e.V

A non-profit organisation in Hout Bay has set its sights on starting a new sports programme in the area and is calling on all women to attend the free sessions.

Ubuntu Charity e.V has helped small businesses get started, ran soup kitchens, organised job training and even started a tuition programme for 40 children. They also started a library.

Their latest initiative is a sports programme aimed at women and girls.

Behind the idea is Silke Rylands, who is originally from Germany, but settled in Constantia about five years ago. She explained that after doing some digging, they discovered that there were more activities for boys and several mixed groups.

“That sometimes makes girls or women feel uncomfortable. That’s why it’s a girls or women only programme,” Ms Rylands said.

“We think sports is important to have a healthy body and mind.”

The idea started when Ms Rylands decided to team up with identical twins, Rebecca and Sarah Pein, at another Hout Bay initiative called The Running Women.

Ms Rylands saw a post on social media about their plan to start the programme and approached the runners.

“We texted, met and decided to start something together, first in Hangberg, at a later point also in IY. We (all) think sports is important,” Ms Rylands said.

The twins have both competed in cross-country and athletics since the age of eight. Over the past 20 years they have participated in hundreds of running events, achieving great results. Their running success has been proof that with the correct training and guidance any woman can achieve her personal goals.

Rebecca Pein said in 2020, they decided they wanted to share their experience and passion for running with other women and so The Running Women was born.

“The Running Women has been designed with the intention to provide a platform for affordable online/virtual running programmes, with a particular focus on female runners,” she said.

“The running women offers everything running-related for women, from training schedules to injury prevention tips, strength exercises, personal coaching, meal plans and more.

“It is a platform that has been created to empower women runners from novice beginners to those more accomplished runners looking for improvement.”

Every time she and her sister ran or drove past the soccer field next to IY, she said, they would see hundreds of boys and men playing soccer and keeping fit. They often wondered how the women and girls of the community stay fit and keep active.

It soon became apparent that there were few fitness programmes available for the women and girls of IY and Hangberg.

Ms Rylands added that once the fitness sessions are running smoothly, they intend offering a more holistic programme, offering nutritional advice, relaxation techniques, advice on healthy living and also take in competitions for participants who’d like to compete.

“Obviously doing sports has a positive impact on your fitness and your health. You can reduce the risk of several illnesses or the effects of existing illnesses like heart or lung problems,” she said.

“There’s so many more benefits like learning discipline and passion and it’s fun, especially when you do it in a group.”

Sessions for girls take place on Monday, inside the hall in Hangberg and for women, on the sports field. For more information, contact 063 009 5393.