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Last year, Virgin Money Insurance ran a competition which offered five people the opportunity to win a share of R300 000 to help conquer their own, personal Goliath Challenge.

When the winners were announced, they were all completely overwhelmed. We recently caught up with our winners to see if they put their Goliath Challenge competition winnings to good use. Here’s what they had to say:

Stan Andrews: Stan was born with a deformed foot which was amputated when he was seven years old. Despite his disability, which he sees as an ability to accomplish more, he always dreamt of summiting Africa’s highest peak. His dream turned into a reality when he was announced as one of the winners of the Goliath Challenge competition. Since summiting Kilimanjaro, Stan has completed the 94.7 cycle challenge, bungee jumped off Bloukrans Bridge, and recently swam the Midmar Mile. “By summiting Kilimanjaro I was able to prove to myself as well as to other people living with disabilities that anything is possible,” says Stan.

Carmi Engelbrecht: Poverty forced Carmi to drop out of school in Grade Nine. For 10 years she never lost hope that one day she would be able to return to school and finish what she started. For Carmi, that day arrived sooner than expected thanks to the Goliath Challenge. Carmi started studying in January 2013 through INTEC College and is currently completing Grade 10. Carmi will finish high-school in 2015. “My life changed in a matter of seconds and there’s no turning back. This was a surreal experience but one that I will value forever,” said Carmi.

Wade Van Nelson: Wade is studying Professional Cookery at Cape College (Cape Town Campus). He used his winnings to fly himself and two of his friends to Berlin to take part in a three-week culinary exchange programme. The three students not only took to the skies for the very first time, but also had the opportunity to enhance their culinary skills and inform their international counterparts about our progressive rainbow nation. Wade plans to work as a local hotel chef when he completes his diploma and says that adding this experience to his CV will no doubt stand him in good stead in the future.

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Stan Andrews, Carmi Enelbrecht and Wade Van Nelson (in between Joshua Layman and Reza Samaai)

Kelebogile Kaise: Kelebogile lives in the Manamakgota Village near Rustenburg. Her Goliath Challenge was to start a supply and distribution company. She had the drive and determination - the only obstacle standing in this 26 year old entrepreneur’s way was access to funding. Kelebogile says that winning was a dream come true. “It’s opened a lot of doors for us. So far, we have used the funds to register a business, market ourselves, purchase office equipment and produce samples. It certainly gave us a head start to a successful future which I am very grateful for,” says Kelebogile.

Stefano Maiorana: Stefano was born and grew up in Groenkloof, Pretoria. He currently lives in Cape Town. His Goliath Challenge is to conduct research on the water of the Kei River. Many rural communities and farms rely on this important water resource which is why he wants to investigate how much it is affected by pollutants and climate change. Stefano and his team from the University of Cape Town and WITS will embark on their expedition this month. Thereafter, they will share the knowledge gained about this little known river basin.

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Kelebogile Kaise (in between Neo Kaise and Obakeng Leeto) and Stefano Maiorana

Here’s to our Goliath Challenge winners! May the dreams of their past become their future realities!