United Through Sport South Africa started a very promising relationship with one of the top multi-racial high schools in Port Elizabeth. From the beginning of 2010, Pearson High School has and will be continuing to offer scholarships to talented kids brought to them by UTS SA. The kids have to excel in sport and ideally start in grade 8 at Pearson to enable them to get maximum benefit for their academic progress.
At the moment, we have three rugby boys attending the school in grade 8. Brad, Sithembiso and Sibulele were selected last year and they all played U/13 provincial level rugby at the time. These three boys were selected from the UTS SA U13 team that went on a sponsored tour with us in 2009 to Saffron Walden, UK. The boys have adjusted well to the new school, although the school workload has proven to be much tougher than primary school. Their afternoons are packed with extra-mural activities but we are putting into practice making use of our international volunteers to help with homework and extra tuition on their free afternoons.
The selection for next year’s scholarships is in progress and we are looking to have a mixed selection of boys and girls. The boys for next year are also from our UK tour team who were selected from our various primary schools programs. The girls are from our Primary School Mass Participation Program (MPP) and were identified for their talent and commitment by our School of Excellence (SSE) netball coach who was the “helping hand” in scouting for this raw talent. These boys and girls currently attend schools in the townships and this will be a great change to the schooling life they have known thus far. Pearson has all the facilities they will need for their sport, to polish their skills as well as extra-mural activities that they will be introduced to for the first time in their lives. The kids could even realize talent they didn’t know they had due to the sad fact that they weren’t exposed to certain facilities and activities in the township schools they have attended previously. Such facilities that will contribute to this include Pearson’s state of the art Music department, modern aquatics centre, science labs and brand new sports science gym and fitness centre with full time physio and personal trainers.
All the parents have all been extremely grateful for the opportunity as they would otherwise not have been able to afford to take their kids to such a school, due to their financial constraints. This was particularly a blessing to one of the families where the grandfather, a pensioner, is the sole source of income in the household. All the families have similar backgrounds where the reality is they would never have been able to give their kids such a schooling opportunity had we not given them this Pearson scholarship.
Talking to the kids, you can just see the eagerness of going to a multi-racial school for the first time; they are excited but at the same time they are naturally anxious of the communication skills and how they will fit in. The medium of instruction from the teachers as well as communication with their fellow-scholars will now have to be strictly in English, a language they are not too familiar with. UTS SA will however be on hand to support the kids at each step of the way with extra tuition, personal mentoring and homework assistance. Schooling at Pearson will open up doors to these kids as they will be exposed to other cultures and widen their perspective and outlook on life.
For United Through Sport SA, it has been a pleasure working with Pearson as they have really shown the passion to develop the kids; both on and off the field. Both the headmaster and the sports convener have been very welcoming to and supportive in continuing the relationship between UTS SA and Pearson High School.
We all look forward to seeing these kids progress at Pearson and we thank the school for the opportunity awarded to these and the upcoming scholars. Obtaining schooling such as this is, in reality, very far from the kids in the townships’ reach. Through sport, UTS SA and Pearson are trying hard to bridge this gap and provide better education for these children.
“Being at Pearson has exposed me to a different world, the work load is tough but very rewarding when we complete it and do well. The vibe on Saturdays (around Rugby fixtures) is amazing and I feel so privileged to be a part of it.” – Sithembiso Metshe, UTS SA Scholar attending at Pearson, also Pearson U14 Rugby Captain.
On Monday the 21st June 2010 the city of Port Elizabeth hosted the World Cup match between Switzerland and Chile. The Swiss Embassy had sponsored 60 tickets for our beneficiaries for this match, which meant the world to the kids that got to receive these tickets. This sponsor was made possible through our institutional partner, Imbewu Suisse.
The previous day, it was all red and white at Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide, one of the townships we work in. The kids had the pleasure of meeting the Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr Rudolf Baerfuss, they also met Arthur Dubach who is the godfather of Roger Federer and they met one of the players from the Switzerland team, Philippe Senderos. The mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay, Mr Zanoxolo Wayile was also present to honour this event and there was a lot of media from Switzerland and the wider Europe. The Swiss Football Federation was at the location to make official the partnership between them and Imbewu Suisse, interact with the community and distribute balls.
With the World Cup being hosted in South Africa, Alex Miescher, the secretary general of the Federation, wanted to acknowledge that they were not only about the sport but also wanted to engage on a more social level with the communities of South Africa. Because of his injury, Senderos was able to go meet with the kids, play with them and he also gave a bit of motivational talk. He was very popular with the kids as they knew him from being with Arsenal. By sponsoring the tickets, t-shirts and caps, the Embassy wanted to show a Switzerland that cares. The Ambassador talked to the kids about Switzerland and him and the Mayor gave some motivational words to the kids. Arthur Dubach gave out some Roger Federer caps and t-shirts to the kids, who were all too excited.In the later afternoon, there was a football tournament between the kids where one team was in Swiss t-shirts and the other in South African t-shirts.
Match day was full of excitement carried over from the previous day as the kids went to watch the game at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium all geared up in their red supporters t-shirts. Walking around the stadium with the Ambassador made the kids feel extremely important and proud to be part of this group. It was a lot of fun watching the game especially since the kids had been “hanging out” with one of the players just the previous day! They were singing Swiss songs, which caught a lot people’s attention as it was rather unusual to see these South African kids singing Swiss songs with so much passion and excitement. The atmosphere was just beautiful and the kids had a great time watching the match.
"I hope to travel to Switzerland to return the feeling that they gave us here and meet the kids there. I had a great time cheering for the Swiss team!" - Zanyiwe Dukumbana, Project Beneficiary
A selection of our project beneficiary youngsters have been chosen to partake in a beach lifesaving course which will culminate in them becoming qualified beach life guards. Not only will this course give the learners a very valuable life skill it will also provide them with a potential employment opportunity with a certified qualification that could allow them to work any where in the world. The initiative being run by, Hope Through Sport will take the kids through a three month training program ending with them taking their written and practical tests with the South African Lifesaving Association. Godfrey Afrika, Founder of Hope Through Sport said, “Getting your lifesaving qualification is such a valuable skill, yes it’s a qualification that can create employment for you anywhere in the world, but more important than that, you learn to save lives”. An important message that wrung true for Godfrey when he was part of the South African Global Relief Team, the first South African team to assist retrieving victims from the water after the devastating Tsunami that ripped through Indonesia in 2004. In March the team of children from United Through Sport SA will compete in their first life saving competition, the plan is for them to then take their exams in April. Last year there were 97 drownings in Nelson Mandela Bay, of which 95 were non-white. This is a clear example of the need to develop these skills amongst the kids in our township communities. “I’m so excited about this course, I can’t wait to be able to help people who can’t swim on our beaches…when I finish school I want to go over-seas and get a job somewhere like America or Australia!” – Ntsika Hlekani, 16, Project Beneficiary
For 14 children and two coaches from our after school program growth points the opportunity of a life time recently arose.
After recent publicity has elevated United Through Sport South Africa's status (including the Global Giving Campaign), a School and Rugby Club from the UK heard about our programs and made it their mission to make a difference!
The people of Saffron Walden, raised an amazing R250 000 to be able to fund a week long rugby trip and cultural exchange for the group of 12 and 13 year old boys from within the township communities that we are working in. Two of the 14 boys are directly supported through Global Giving donations.
The trip was a huge eye opener for the boys and a once in a life time opportunity. During the week they stayed with host familys from the school and participated in school lessons and got to experience quality facilities that they would never have used before like Astroturf, musical instruments and even a dance studio. The boys also visited London for the day and saw all the main attractions like Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. The team then participated in a local rugby tournament on the Friday, which they won with ease, beating all of the local opposition each by 40 points or more and lifted the Saffron Walden under 13 Rugby Trophy. They rounded off the tour with a trip to Twickenham to watch the Premiership final between London Irish and Leicester amongst an 81 000 capacity crowd.
The main aim of the tour was to give the boys an opportunity they would never normally receive with the aim of broadening their horizons and encouraging them to strive to achieve more than they would have previously perceived possible.
“The boys were so excited to be travelling to the UK that they had already been working over time on their rugby, their language skills and their geography and to me this is one of the keys to this kind of experience; they are already trying to improve themselves and broaden their horizons in preparation, imagine what can happen after they have experienced it!” – Nick Mould, Director, UTS SA
"I'll never forget this experience we saw so much, it was like another planet and we saw new and exciting things everyday. I definitely want to go back". - Athenkosi Mayinje, Player, UTS SA
On behalf of United Through Sport SA we would really like to thank all those donors that are making these amazing experiences possible for the orphaned and vulnerable children of our communities, together we are making them realize they too can achieve!
A NOTE FROM GLOBALGIVING:
This is the second in a series of snapshots about project leader Nick Mould and his organization Umzingisi School of Sporting Excellence.
Thank you for your continued support of Nick and his tireless dedication to improving the lives of South African children through sport. We ask you to contribute again today! Feel free to tell your friends about Nick and his incredible work!
When “thinking on your feet” took on a whole new meaning
After studying Business Economics and working for a “ruthless” multinational food retailer, Nick Mould needed a career break. He packed his bags and headed for his father’s homeland of South Africa to spend six months giving back to the community.
An avid sportsman, Nick used his athletic inclination as an avenue to get to know the children in the small towns where he worked. Nick’s “sport as a tool” proved very effective. “I quickly saw the impact that spending just a little bit of time with the impoverished children of the township communities here could do and that with a little bit of personal care and attention, improvements in the children’s behavior, attention span, self esteem and general intelligence became apparent,” says Nick. Nick starting building up a volunteer program for like-minded individuals to come out and coach sports.
Now four years in the running, the Umzingisi School of Sporting Excellence has added life-skills program in addition to its rigorous sports training schedule with the help of funding driven by GlobalGiving. The curriculum includes topics such as HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, crime awareness, career guidance, intrapersonal development, financial management, health and nutrition, and computer skills. With further funding, Nick hopes to develop a holistic educational program that includes music, art, and drama instruction.
What motives Nick to go to work every day? “Many people look at the kind of work we do and think that we are selfless for what we are doing for other people,” says Nick. “I don’t see it this way at all.”
Rather, for Nick, the satisfaction of helping another person is more valuable than monetary compensation. “One of the best feelings you can have is when you do something for someone else and they really appreciate what you have done,” says Nick. “There is so much more reward in working to help other people rather than working solely to help yourself.”
With a degree in Business Economics and experience working for a multinational food retailer, Nick abandoned his successful corporate career to pursue more meaningful work in community development. “I don’t feel like I could be doing anything else,” he says.
The Umzingisi School of Excellence directly benefits from donations received through GlobalGiving and Nick has used the funds to expand the educational program and curriculum. Increased giving would allow Nick and his colleagues to add art, drama, and music classes.
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