Marilet Daniel, a Stellenbosch University (SU) alumna, proudly represented her home town of Rawsonville when she recently completed the Berlin Marathon 2023. Not only did she check an item off her bucket list, but she also made a meaningful contribution to SU's #Move4Food campaign.
Marilet, who studied towards a BAcc degree and graduated with honours in 2007, reflected on her time at SU, acknowledging the relief that came with the end of her studies and appreciating the doors her SU qualification opened.
“Completing a marathon has been in the back of my mind for some time, and when I was successful in getting a lottery entry for Berlin, it was rather a case of Berlin picking me than the other way around," Marilet says. “Alison April, Director for Europe: Fundraising and Alumni Relations, suggested using the marathon as a fundraising platform, shifting the focus from personal accomplishment to doing good for others."
The #Move4Food campaign, which supports students with healthy meals for focused studying, resonated with Marilet and raised her awareness of the privileges she enjoys as a South African in Amsterdam.
As for the reason behind her fundraising for #Move4Food, Marilet emphasises, “Being South African and now living in Amsterdam, you are reminded daily of how fortunate you are to have ample opportunities, of which we take food on the table almost for granted. My commitment stems not only from a sense of duty but a genuine understanding of the impact this campaign can have on students facing challenges.
“The Berlin community responded overwhelmingly to my fundraising efforts, and before I knew it, I reached my target! I received so many messages of support and people loving the fundraising initiative," Marilet says gratefully.
Marilet describes her approach on setting and exceeding her fundraising target as follows: “I did not view me potentially not achieving the target as a challenge or failure; every euro contributed is a euro more than what we had the previous day, and it could make a difference.
“The Berlin Marathon itself was a memorable experience for me. I was a bit nervous before the race but calmed myself down by realising how fortunate I am to be healthy enough to run, and on top of that, a world marathon major course a few hours after Eliud Kipchoge set off! The most memorable moment was passing through the Brandenburg gates with the crowd cheering, that literally gave me the chills!"
Looking ahead, Marilet envisions participating in future fundraising efforts. She describes her passion for education-related causes as follows: “I would love to do the Tokyo Marathon at some point and will use that as yet another opportunity to raise funds. Education is quite close to my heart, and any campaign that will help support children and students in securing a better future has my unconditional support."
Marilet's connection to SU is rooted in gratitude rather than obligation. She appreciates the University's initiatives and the ease with which alumni can contribute.
“I am thankful for the support. I loved every second of preparing for the Marathon and raising money, the latter was just the cherry on top. My experience is that we can make a meaningful impact no matter how small, when we combine personal achievements with a commitment to social good."