Pretoria, 30 June 2017: Sophia Matlou, 51 year old Sponsorship Assistant for SPAR, from Midrand, is the vibrant, inspirational lady with the significant task of making sure Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge Goodie Bags are filled with amazing treats each year. She says participants are always excited to see what’s inside their bags on race day so she makes it her mission each year to secure exceptional grocery item samples that truly matter to participants.
“I was born and raised in Dennilton, Mpumalanga where I went to school until Grade 8 and love spending time with my family, going to movies, church and reading educational books. I have been married to my husband Hendrik for 30 years, with whom I have four children, Tshepo, 31 years old, Mosa, 24 years old, Karabo, 21 years old, and Salamina, 17 years old,” she says.
Sophia says she is proud to have worked her way from domestic worker at 19 years old to Sponsorship Assistant for SPAR at 51 year old and began her SPAR career working as a contract cleaner in 2001 at 34 years old. From 2004 she volunteered for two years doing reception work until she received a receptionist position at SPAR in 2006, whereafter she volunteered in the Marketing Department until she was awarded Sponsorship Assistant at the group in 2012.
“Immediately after the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge ends each year, I contact companies to sponsor items for the 26 000 goodie bags for the following year. A sample from each sponsoring company is packed into the bags, which is a fantastic way for the community to learn about a company’s products, by volunteers from Irene Homes as part of their job creation initiative in return for a cash donation from SPAR,” says the Sponsorship Assistant.
According to Sophia, the SPAR Women’s Challenge Goodie Bags may include items from energising, nutritious, healthy snacks and bars, to yoghurts, water, chips, deodorants, shoe polish and vouchers. She says often the value of the items in the bag equates to over R100 which is more than the race entry fee so the event really is value for money.
“The highlight of my work is meeting warm, encouraging individuals and knowing I am giving back to the community every day through my job. Over the years I have built relationships with race partners who have become a vital helping hand in the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge and in 2016 over R370 000 was donated to beneficiaries making us truly #BetterTogether,” says the Sponsorship Assistant.
Sophia says #BetterTogether – the theme of this year’s Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge – means that to achieve a goal, we need to work as a team sharing the vision, sharing the work and sharing the success, creating a better community for everyone. She says when the gun is fired for the start of the event on race day she feels like she has gained new life because she has played her part in bringing together thousands of sponsors, race partners, top runners and VIPs to SuperSport Park, Centurion and is overjoyed that she’s made her mark.
“We invite women from all walks of life and levels of fitness to join the Pretoria SPAR Women’s Challenge, receive our marvellous goodie bags and run side by side thousands of women in vivid coral shirts and peaks on 5 August. I would love to see the whole of Pretoria reach out together to change lives in our poor communities. We are all Pretorians. We are all SPAR family. Come see for yourself that we are truly #BetterTogether,” she says.