Four years ago a short 50 metre stroll left Engen service station owner Helder Silva short of breath. Three years later, the owner of Engen North End Convenience Centre completed his first gruelling IronMan Triathlon. On 10 April 2016 he did it again, swimming 3.8km, cycling 180km and running 42.2km in just 13 hours and 19 minutes.
Having transformed his mind and body, and tipping the scales 27kg lighter, Helder has committed himself to making a difference. Moved by the work of the Smile Foundation, Helder along with six other Engen service station owners from the Eastern Cape recently raised R35 000 as part of Engen’s Dealer Community Partnership Programme (DCPP).
The DCPP supports and encourages Engen dealers to get involved and play a meaningful role in their communities. As part of the DCPP, Engen matched Helder and company’s efforts ensuring a total of R70 000 will be invested in meaningful community projects.
“My decision to take control of my body in 2012 has totally transformed my life and how I view the world. I wanted to give back and do something life changing for someone else. I could think of no better way of helping than to put a smile on a child’s face,” says Silva.
Silva says that he also wants to encourage people of all ages to get healthy and do what they need to do. “I was 58 years old in 2012 when I made the decision to drastically change my life. I’m 62 now and proud to say that I’m fitter, healthier and happier than I have ever been.”
The handover of a R70 000 cheque was held at Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital on 23 May 2016 as part of the Smile Foundation’s ‘Smile Week’. The money will enable 17 children in the Eastern Cape to undergo facial reconstructive surgery.
Engen’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, Mntu Nduvane says: “We are humbled by the opportunity to support such a life-changing project and are very proud of Helder Silva and our Eastern Cape franchisees for raising funds for the children of the Eastern Cape.”
Tanya Jackson from the Smile Foundation says 12 athletes raised a total of R220 000 for the Smile Foundation by participating in the 2015 Ironman. In 2016, all records were broken with 56 Ironman athletes raising over R700 000 for the benefit of the Smile Foundation.
The Smile Foundation offers free facial and reconstructive surgery to children in South Africa.
“The 2016 Smile Foundation Ironman team has literally put smiles on the faces of more children by participating in this gruelling event. We thank them and their generous supporters for partnering with us in making a difference,” says Jackson.
Engen’s Corporate Affairs General Manager, Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray says: “Today’s youth are our future leaders. The work of the Smile Foundation truly provides opportunities for future generations by enabling them to develop a positive self-image. We are very proud to be associated with the Smile Foundation and applaud the generous show of support from our dealers in the Eastern Cape.”
Engen Petroleum is a leading producer and marketer of fuels, lubricants and oil-based products in South Africa and is committed to helping facilitate positive upliftment and sustainable futures for local communities.