Ambassadors In Sport

Our mission is to run Hope Academies in South Africa. Hope Academy is an intensive and holistic football based program that provides underprivileged children in Africa the opportunity to fulfil their God-given potential on and off the field.
Jul 18, 2012

In and Out of Prison

Bonga Mbili
Bonga Mbili

What a busy few months we have had in the prison, we can't believe it is already time for our next report. Thanks for all your support to this program which continues to make a massive difference in the lives of juvenile offenders in Cape Town, South Africa.

We are pleased to announce that the Academy was accepted into a local football association league! This has been a massive breakthrough as we are the first prison football team to now be registered in a community football league. This has been a massive boost for the Academy and for the young offenders in prison and serves as a huge motivation for them. The team has so far played 4 games and won all 4! 

Secondly I labelled the title of this report "in and out of prison" - our staff have been working tirelessly with young men in the prison but also visiting many of our graduates who are now outside. This takes a lot of time and effort as many of the young men come from different parts of Cape Town. However, we see this as being essential as we continue to mentor and support the men once released, the challenges the young men face out of prison are far greater than what they face inside.

One of our young men, Zola Goboza was recently appointed a community worker in the township Samora Machell, this was great news as this young man who has been rehabilitated through the Academy now has the opportunity to impact his community and put into his practice what he learnt through the program.

Zola's story is one of the bright stories (and we have many others) but we also have stories which underline the massive challenges we face in our project. Many projects don't share the real truths about their programs and the challenges but we feel this is important as people like you continue to support us. One of our young men, Jeremy was released back into the community and refused to join his old gang, this resulted in one of the gang members walking up to him one day and shooting in the back of the head, this was in front of his 2 year old son. We attended the funeral and one of our coaches gave testimony to Jeremy's time in prison. It is so sad that this young man died for making the right choice.

Another one of our other graduates Bonga was also shot dead in Cape Town one evening, Bonga was also a father to his two year old son and was making an effort to change, he was working and supporting his child. These deaths just continue to contribute to the fatherless generation we face in South Africa. You can read a blog I wrote about Bonga below on the link.

Another young man called Precious was released this year after he contracted XDR-TB, XDR-TB is a terminal form of TB and it is unlikely he will recover, he has been in hospital and vomiting up blood, we hope to be able to provide private care for him as it seems Corrections and the government are providing no adequate care for this young man.

These young men often need people advocating for them, they have messed up in life but statistics show that 95% of them have never had a positive father figure in their lives. This shows the important role sport can play as our coaches become the father figures and mentors to many of these young men.

In the coming months we hope to sit with Correctional Services and really secure our program and partnership moving forwards. There is so much work to be done but we need further support.

Links:

Jun 1, 2012

Lots Happening!

Jeremy - who sadly leaves behind a 2 year old son
Jeremy - who sadly leaves behind a 2 year old son

Dear Friends,

We would like to update you on some exciting developments regarding our prison Hope Academy program. 

These past few months have been extremely busy for the project as we have continued to work tremendously hard with the young offenders in the prison and our graduates outside of prison.

Currently we have had 32 graduates come through the Hope Academy. It is exciting to see many of these young men leave prison and become role models and leaders in their communities. 

Recently our captain in the Academy from 2009-2011 Zola Goboza was employed in one of the Cape Town townships as a full time community worker. When Zola was released from prison he volunteered his services for free to the local council, over time the community center saw his commitment and rewarded him with a full time position last week.

One of our graduates, Abongile Sodlaka phoned me to say he had just passed his Electrical Engineering Level 3 theory course. We funded Abongile to go through this course and he has shown great determination to pass. He will be setting up his own business in the future.

However we do have some sad news that one of our graduates was shot dead in the Cape Flats a few weeks ago. Jeremy made a decision to leave the gang he was working with before prison when he was released, sadly the gang killed him on his doorstep in front of his two year old son. Jeremy lost his life for standing up for the right thing. One of our coaches attended the funeral and spoke on behalf of Hope Academy and gave a testimony about Jeremy's life. This is the realty of the work we do.

This past month we had the minister of Correctional Services visit the Academy, she said that the Academy holding cell (where the team lives) was the "best cell I have ever seen in any prison in the country" - her comment was in appreciation for the discipline of the young men, the cleanliness of the cell and the project. We also received a delegation from all the managers of prisons nationwide who visited the Academy with the concept to open up Academies in their prisons. This will be a difficult task as the Academy is not something that can easily be replicated.

Finally the Academy has been accepted into an external football association league. This is a huge breakthrough as the team will be playing matches home and away against community teams. This will not only create awareness of the project but will also allow us to play competitive football on a weekly basis.

Thanks for all your support and if you want to continue to support us by giving to the project please consider this. We still need funding for equipment this year such as boots, shirts and playing kit.

Apr 18, 2012

The Season Has Begun

Life Skills Training with Coach Sam.
Life Skills Training with Coach Sam.

Our Soweto Hope Academy has begun with a BANG!

It has been an exciting start the season as we have welcomed all the children from the Academy. This is the third year of the Academy as we continue to invest into each child in their football, faith and future.

The children have started off well. The Academy has received many visits from overseas visitors and also from other African leaders that work for Ambassadors In Sport. Soweto Hope Academy is the flagship model for our other African offices to replicate in the future.

We did have a set back when our offices were broken into but we are thankful that the person responsible for the theft was arrested and was sent to prison. We managed to also recover a lot of the stolen goods.

The children are progressing well, we have been running life skills sessions based on our Core Values which are Compassion, Respect, Self-Discipline, Humility, Integrity, Equality and Excellence.

One of our children said to our Future Coach (who oversees our life skills and education monitoring) - coach I just love you and you are like a mother to me. This is something that happens regularly and the Academy has become like a family to many of our children.

This past month we have had the pleasure of hosting a team from the UK who have spent time in the Academy. This has been amazing as the kids have been able to interact with people from another country. However, as I always say to touring teams - these kids will teach you more than you can teach them!

Finally we are pleased to announce that Hope Academy was awarded recognition from the Nelson Mandel Fund for best practice within the nonprofit sector. This was a great honour for us - see link below for further info!

We value all your support as we continue to develop the children throughout this year and we will keep you all updated with reports!

Links:

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