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.
Jan 10, 2013

2012 - a breakthrough year!

Mbali Banda
Mbali Banda

Dear friends,

Happy New Year to all of you! Here are some amazing highlights of 2012 in the project.

2012 was an exciting year for the Legalwise Soweto Hope academy. We kicked off the year with an in-house training of the Soweto stuff team by Dave Waters who is a Hope Academy technical director based in Cape Town. The training was on football philosophy which was and still is developed to be unique to Hope Academy. The goal of the training was to empower the team to be able to implement the developed philosophy. This training provided a solid foundation to make the year a success in training our children and givng them the best possible coaching expierence. 

In April we had an event that brought 120 supporters and members of the community who were involved in the field laying of the Hope Academy, coming together for the celebration of the fruit of their labour and to witness the impact of such hard work

As a way of connecting to other children in the community and growing the Hope Academy awareness we had our annual soccer coaching clinic to commemorate the Youth Day on the 16th of June. The highlight of this event is that local coaches who were trained by our coaches through our coaching community course are presented with an opportunity to give back to the kids in the community while gaining experience by putting into practise what they have learned. The event was attended by 116 people.

18 July Mandela day the academy hosted visitors from Durham school based in the UK. The school brought 25 youth and four coaches who came to interact with the Hope Academy kids. The visitors were also taken to visit the local schools were the Hope Academy kids attend as learners. This visit gave the academy an opportunity to strengthen the relations with the local schools.

To further go deeper with the kids the academy went on a two day camp. The theme was royalty and kids were taught that they are very special and should not look down upon themselves. This presented a time of healing for the kids as they opened up. The impact of this camp went beyond our expectations as some of the kids remain open to talk about the everyday challenges they are experiencing in life.

On the 1st of December the kids had a family fun day and an award ceremony. This gave them an opportunity to bond with family members through various activities. This allows families to connect with one another and to see how much they really need each other. The day was ended with an award given ceremony where children were acknowledged and affirmed in various categories. About 102 people came to the event.

There are many stories we could share but meet 12 year old Mbali Banda (pictured). His parents passed on in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and is raised by his granny. In 2010 I went to visit his school to hear about his progress. At that time in grade 4, Mbali’s teachers never gave him a slight chance to progress beyond grade 6. Through being tutored at HA Mbali improved gaining confidence and developing a ‘’work hard’’ ethic and has now progressed to grade 7.

Another celebration was that Nosipho Mahlathi who is 12 years old was selected to play for the South African Football Association regional u13 girls squad. She was spotted at school and was drafted in the squad. She was recently received an award as the most improved individual in Football excellence.

Finally the best news we had recieved was that all our children passed their school year - this gave us a 100% pass rate in the Academy. Recently education has been a topic of conversation and media attention in South Africa because of poor grades and children dropping out of school. Our dedication and focus on education with our children certainly paid dividends.

Thanks for your support and we can't wait to start in 2013 - all the kids come back in early February for the new year.

Jan 10, 2013

End of year awards and reunion.

Awards ceremony with both graduates & prison team.
Awards ceremony with both graduates & prison team.

Dear friends,

A very Happy New Year to you all. Firstly we would like to thank you for all your support to the prison work over 2012. We expierenced some great breakthroughs during the year such as the team being registered and playing in an outside league for the first time and many of our graduates contributing to community projects in Cape Town. 

At the end of the program last year we ran a few events that were significant to the program. Firstly we ran a graduation reunion where 18 of our graduates gathered together and climbed Lions Head Mountain. It was the first time that any of our young men had climbed this Cape Town landmark and illustrated that many underpriveledged youth don't get opportunities to enjoy the beaufiful surroundings in Cape Town. 

The second event we ran was our end of year awards ceremony. This was a fantastic event and we invited 20 of our graduates to attend the event. Awards were handed out for young men in the prison program that had excelled in their football, character and education. The young men in prison then played a match against the prison graduates which ended in a 1:1 draw. It was a great encouragement to see the young men released from prison coming back and offering encouragement and support the young men in the Academy.

One of our young men who left prison and graduated from the program in 2011 was Zola Goboza. Zola was captain of the Academy from 2009-2011 and became a strong leader and role model to the other prisoners. Zola is now working for the local council in one of the townships and says he is using all the skills he learnt as captain in prison to deal with people in his community. This kind of story and example offers so much hope to the young men in prison as they see one young man who used to be in a cell with them making good decisions and a positive life for himself outside.

In 2013 we will continue to support the prison authotiries in running the program as well as supporting the young men who were released from prison. On February the 9th we will be running the "Freedom Run" a 10K run that starts in the prison to celebrate Nelson Mandelas release and walk to freedom. We will be doing this run with some of our graduates to raise awareness for the program, please consider supporting us by making a donation (any amount) and we will give a report in our next newsletter.

Thanks for all your support - we appreciate your partnership in transforming young lives through using football in South Africa.

Oct 17, 2012

A Camp with a Difference!

All the children and coaches at the camp.
All the children and coaches at the camp.

Dear friends, our Soweto Hope Academy project continues to grow from strength to strength. We have seen growth in all of our children. I want to highlight one of our recent events that will give a great update on the progress we are making and impact Hope Academy is having on children's lives.

In the month of September our Soweto Hope Academy went on their very first camp. The objective of the camp was to instil the sense of self-worth and build the self esteem of the children. The theme of the camp was ‘Royalty’ and sessions were built around the truth that each one of our children is special and has great self worth.

All the children managed to go to the camp which was exciting as not one of our chldren had ever been on a camp before. All our children were very excited about this new expierence! It was the first time any of them had the opportunity to explore the outdoors and be surrounded by mountains and away from the busy life found in the township where they live and where the Hope Academy is based.

We were so touched to see our children wait patiently in anticipation to be allocated to their rooms. For many of them it was the first time to sleep in their own bed (many of them share beds with other family members). They were also excited to take a shower for the very first time! During the week many things would be expierenced for the first time which was a joy to witness.

During the weekend our coaches facilitated life skills lessons. The children were taught through biblical life skills, movies, games and stories. During the sessions many of our children were able to open up about some of the traumas and grief that they have experienced in life. The camp was not only for the children to have fun and enjoy themselves but it provided a time of healing for many of them.

One of our sessions that had a significant impact was about fatherhood. Most of our children don’t have a father figure in their lives and were able to open up and speak about this. Other children were also able to share about family members who had played an important role in their lives. For those who have both a mother and father they leant to be appreciative and be thankful for their parents.

Among many things, the children enjoyed time in the swimming pool, playing volley ball, working together during tasks, hiking, watching movies, roasting marshmallows in the fire and also singing around the fire. The wonderful thing about some of these activities was that they could play, interact and have fun and behave as many normal children do. Some of the children found out they had certain abilities, talents and gifts they have that they never thought they had!

Overall the camp was a great success. Since coming back from the camp the impact has been huge and it is evident that many of the childrens lives have changed. Some of the children have opened up and others have become happier and eager to make their dreams a reality.

Having coaches sharing their life stories and testimony of where they have been and how they grew up, helped the children understand that they too can achieve their aspirations. Many of the children could identify with what the coaches went through as they have faced the same challenges in life. This gave them courage and hope that they too can achieve their dreams.

The hope in the children has been resurrected and their faith for success in the future has been restored. The theme for the camp was suitable and relevant as the children can now view themselves differently. They have been able to reflect on their lives knowing that they do matter and that they have a purpose and plan in life. The most important thing is that have learnt how important they are to God and that He values and loves each one of them.

It is such a joy to be walking with each child in their football, faith and future.

Thanks for your support, please consider supporting us further so we can continue to support our children.

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