Founder of the non-profit organisation (NPO), One Chance At Life (OCAL) Global, Nicolene (Mostert) Anley (34), is pretty much the poster child of what a person should look like in order to make the world a better place.
But this type of person definitely needs stamina – and Nicolene most certainly does not lack anything is this department. She was one of the participants in the annual Journey for Change multiple times – a 10 day, 24 hour non-stop run and hand-cycle across South Africa. Yes, non-stop for 240 hours!
However, life fell into place for Nicolene when she was part of a team who took disabled (she calls them “differently abled”) athletes up Kilimanjaro, including the world’s first triple amputee, in 2014. “And this was where I found my calling, or should I say my calling found me…right there at the base of Kilimanjaro! It was there where I had my ‘AHA’ moment, which lead to starting OCAL Global,” she says.
Over and above this all, Nicolene is also a mom, model, activist and humanitarian. She states: “For me being a mom to the most epic young lady is the most amazing thing in the world. She is the one who inspires me daily to be the best person I can possibly be – as well as to do what I can to make the world a better place for her to live in.”
Nicolene’s vison to impact the world for better
So what exactly does Nicolene want to achieve? “So many things! But I think in the last year I’ve come to realise that the state of the support system for mentally and physically differently abled children in our country is very little to non-existent. I have first-hand worked, researched and spent time in the communities of the Northern Cape over the past year – and it’s nothing short of heart breaking! Hence I have decided to focus on these communities – to create and bring about sustainable, grass-root level change. This ranges from basic health care, mobility, early childhood development programmes and safe houses. These are the most vulnerable children in our society and my big dream is to implement my sustainable plan all over South Africa and eventually Africa.”
Although she has achieved incredible achievements, one stands out personally for Nicolene. She shares: “It was remarkable to give a 12-year-old cerebral palsy boy the gift of mobility. For 12 years his mom was carrying him everywhere, so for his entire life up to then he was waiting for a buggy (modified wheelchair). Giving him and his mom the freedom of movement and mobility on Madiba Day this year was nothing short of magic!”
So what is Nicolene all about?
Although born in Windhoek, Namibia (6 December 1983), Nicole was raised together with her two younger brothers all over South Africa. After matriculating, Nicole changed her mind a million times about what she wanted to do in the world. “I studied, worked, modelled – I tried it all,” she says.
So how does someone like Nicolene see herself? She replies: “Compassionate, passionate, nurturing, resilient and adventurous. I’m a bit of everything. I feel things very deeply and I’m one of those people who actually really give a damn when I connect with people. I’m not one for superficial fluff – give me raw, give me real and give me emotion.”
She continues: “My philosophy in life is that no dream is impossible – that is if you have the passion to pursue it and are willing to commit to it like crazy! I don’t believe there is a formula to success. The greatest success stories have all been mavericks; people who don’t ‘copy and paste’, don’t follow the the crowd and can’t be put in a box…”
And with more surprises up her sleeve, Nicolene certainly cannot be boxed. She shares some secrets: “I’m a house mouse, I’m totally obsessed with the lyrics in music, I could read quotes all day, I studied Chinese healing…and get this, I don’t like washing my hair!” Furthermore, she loves to sing and cook, especially coming up with healthy meals.
More fun facts about Nicolene include:
• She likes doing things that people think cannot be done,
• She could easily live off the grid and off the land,
• She does not mind calling a camper van her home,
• She snacks in bed at night – a firm favourite is Coco Pops in a salad bowl (“because let’s be honest – no one wants to get up a 100 times to refill a little bowl”),
• She never gets nervous, stating “the unknown excites me”.
Working on the fear of “not being good enough”
But life has not always just been easy for Nicolene as one of the biggest obstacles in life that she had to overcome was the fear of not being good enough. “I’m still overcoming it daily. I think this is something so many of us struggle with. Well, I decided to back myself and surround myself with a strong support system. I now practise self-love and I’ve needed to learn to be gentle with myself. I realised that this is the one most powerful force that can sabotage and destroy anything before it even becomes a reality.”
Nicole’s personal role model is Richard Branson for pretty good reasons: “I love the fact that he is so hands on and how he revolutionised industries. He was brave enough to risk it all for the crazy dream and vision he had in his heart. I would love to work alongside him.”
The future for Nicolene as she works on her legacy
Future plans for Nicolene include the annual Journey for Change – 2100km, 10-day, 24 hours adventure from Pretoria to Cape Town – she already completed 3 successful ones and 2019 will be her fourth.
And then on top of all this Nicolene is busy working on a project to build a safe house, early childhood development centre, clinic and rehab in the Northern Cape for the mentally and physically differently-abled kids.
Nicole concludes: “I would love to leave the legacy behind that I started implementing and changing the way mentally and physically differently abled kids in our country and the whole of Africa are being looked after. I would to make their lives matter, in a big way! I want to give everyone hope that no matter how impossible it seems, bringing about sustainable change is possible.”
For more of Nicole and OCAL Global, visit www.ocalglobal.com.
Also follow her on social media – @NicoleneMostert.