At the end of the last month we were priveledged to attend the Beyond Sport Awards in Chicago. The Awards selected a final shortlist of 40 projects from 400 entries around the globe. The Hope Academy project was entered into the Social Inclusion category but we sadly did not win the award. The expierence was very beneficial as we networked with other sports development projects around the globe and we were also involved in workshops and leadership training.
Through the conference we were excited to learn that our prison Academy project is very unique and is one of it's kind worldwide! We shared the concept with other people and they could not believe the freedom we have in transferring young men from other prisons and selecting our players. We believe we have been given a great opportunitiy in this program and through our hard work Correctional Services have seen the benefit of what we are doing.
Here are some statistics from our Drakenstein Academy to show what the young men who have graduated from our projects are doing outside of prison. We have had 19 young men released since we launched in 2008.
32 % Studying
10 % Lost Contact
10% Back in Prison
We are excited about how our young men are developing since being released from prison. In South Africa the average recidivism (return to prison) rate of prisoners is 85%. Through our tough discipline, love and holisitic program these young men are truly changing and becoming responsible citizens once released.
We have also developed a strong relationship with the College of Cape Town who offer skills training courses for our young men once released. We have 3 young men signed up already and have courses ready for some of our graduates at the end of this year. This will provide the young men with practical qualifications and job opportunities that will help them lift out of poverty.
Finally one of our Academy members Jacobus Adonis was released this month. Jacobus was one of our brightest star's this year after being transferred from Mossel Bay prison which is 4 hours away from Drakenstein. Jacobus was heavly involved in the 28 gang but transformed his life this year when he joined the Academy. We have linked him to one of our partner churches in George where he lives. This year I personally saw how Jacobus left the gang, changed his life through professing a Christian faith, impacted the whole Academy and showed a strong desire to work within his community once released. This is why the Hope Academy exisits, to see more young men like Jacobus and others have a second chance in life and take it with both hands. There is no better reward than seeing a young life touched and transformed!
Thanks for your continued support and we need your support for the program to continue next year and for us to manage and support the young men once released. Please get in touch if you can assist in anyway.
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AIS SA Director