Real Leaders

The Extreme Athletes Who Built a Home for Orphans in Six Days

Bruce Hughes moves back and forth, yet goes nowhere. His arms and legs are constantly at work, pulling and pushing with rhythmic force.

Yet when Hughes rowed on a stationary machine for six days straight, covering 1,460 kilometers, he went further than he thought he could to raise funds for South Africa’s most vulnerable children. 

“Not everybody has the home they deserve,” Hughes says. But at Ingane Yami Children’s Village, orphans are given a house complete with foster parents and siblings. When Hughes heard about the initiative in 2013, he immediately fell in love with the organization and wished to see it grow. “It’s a great start and a great foundation to creating future leaders for our country,” he says. Having just completed the Atacama Crossing, a 250-kilometer marathon in the Atacama Desert, Hughes realized he could use his passion for extreme sports to help these orphans. 

In 2019, Hughes and his friends, Stefan Terblanche and Mike Morris, alternated turns to stationary row, completing the equivalent distance from the children’s village to Robben Island. The motivation behind this feat kept them going. “I know these children face harder challenges every single day,” Hughes says. Their stunt raised enough funds to build two new buildings that house six children each, creating a new and loving family for those in need. “Everybody can give back and everybody can make a difference, even if it’s a very small way,” Hughes says.

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