The Freedom Challenge Scholarship Fund was established to provide such opportunity. It came about after riders on the Freedom Trail decided to do something to help those communities they were travelling through and the plan was to make a lasting difference by offering children a good education.
|Maria Zell High School|
The Fund raises money to send learners on a three year scholarship to Maria Zell High School, near Matatiele. Promising candidates are selected from within the area and awarded a full scholarship for Grades 10, 11 and 12, covering tuition, lodging, books, uniforms and a travel allowance.
Over the last 3 years, many riders taking part in the Freedom Challenge have taken the opportunity to raise money for the Scholarship Fund. There have also been significant contributions from corporate donors and private individuals. Recently a fund raising evening was held in Johannesburg - organised by Andy Masters, with help from Ben de Lange and Allen Sharp, (both involved in the administration of the Scholarship Fund) and a host of other blanket wearers (it seems that being awarded a blanket for finishing the Freedom Challenge merely signals the beginning of a longer term involvement with the event and the communities it reaches). The draw-card for the evening was getting to hear the story of the 'Honeymooners,' Martin and Jeanie Dreyer, as they recounted their experiences from this year's race.
|Jeanie and Martin with the autographed race jersey. (pic S. Kellerman)|
They took us on a journey of 12 and a half days, during which they experienced many highs and lows: the pain of Jeanie's aching knees; sharing the moonlit nights riding together under the stars; the food and hospitality of the support stations; Martin getting sidetracked watching Saturday afternoon rugby; passing up on a champagne dinner at Toekomst; hypothermia in Die Hel; thawing out with waffles and ice cream at Rouxpos and nearly succumbing to the final hurdle of Stettynskloof... a remarkable journey that brought them closer together the further they rode.
The main fund raising event took the form of an auction of various items - autographed race jerseys, Freedom Challenge memorabilia and also a raffle. In the end, a total of over R35000 was raised on the night, enough for a full scholarship for another deserving learner!