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!
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
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.
June 16th marks a very special day for the youth of South Africa; it is celebrated as Youth Day. Being an organisation that has as its primary goal the development of youth, United Through Sport SA held a HCT 5-a-side Tournament at a small town just outside of Port Elizabeth, Addo, home to the beautiful Addo Elephant Park. The point of this tournament was to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to encourage HIV counselling and testing.
The 95 children playing on the day comprised of 7 local soccer teams and one local netball team; which were all under the age of 16, with the senior teams being the South African Police Services (SAPS) playing against the local team, Addo Legends. Also taking part in the tournament were our School of Excellence soccer boys and netball girls. The local police and health department were very involved on the day, making it the success it was.
Opening the day before the games was a performance from local traditional dancers which had the crowd amazed as the little boys and girls showed off their talents to the beats of the drum. When that was done, the first round of the soccer started.
The community was really giving their support, with the old and the young cheering on. Being spectators was not the only way they were getting involved though; the queues for the HIV testing were getting longer by the minute. The added extra benefit with the mobile clinic at the field was the fact that the nurses were also screening for TB, blood sugar, haemoglobin and blood pressure, not only HIV testing and counselling. Olive Leaf was there as well, giving HIV counselling and testing. Some of the children were busy with our life skills guys doing activities from our curriculum, which promotes abstinence and educates about this deadly disease. Condoms were also made available to everyone, encouraging safe sex to the youth.
Our SSE netball team won the junior tournament beating their Addo opponents convincingly. The police team was starting to warm up now, knowing the masters game was coming up after the semi-finals of the junior team. With the HIV counselling and testing still carrying on in the mobile clinics, the day was getting even more exciting and the pressure on the local teams was building up. The SAPS team proved to everyone watching that once you join the force, you go through a lot of fitness training and used this to press home their advantage and win the master’s game.
The UTS SA boys faced the Buffalos in the final round and contrary to what everyone might believe, we really did not want to win this final match… but our boys just could not play down their talent! They were the winners of the tournament, with a 2-1 victory.
The post-match presentation had prizes for the following individuals: top goal scorer, goal keeper of the tournament, player’s player, player of the tournament and coach of the tournament. The senior team got a floating trophy and bragging rights!
With a total of 74 youth between 13 and 18 years old testing on the day, and 45 between 19 and 35 years old, the day was a success for our first HCT Tournament in Addo. The community of Addo was a pleasure to work with. The event would not have been the success it was if we did not have support from the Cacadu Health Department, Olive Leaf, the SAPS, the Sundays River Citrus Company (oranges were the order of the day!) and Zola, who co-ordinated all the Addo logistics for us. We look forward to doing some more work with this community, as their appreciation was very encouraging.
Of the 74 children, none were HIV positive and of the older youth, 24 % tested HIV positive. This just proved how programmes such as ours are needed to keep the young generation in the HIV-free zone. The community of Addo pleaded us to come back and get their kids more involved in sport. “We are happy when our kids are having fun and learning at the same time, as AIDS is a big problem” commented one of the parents.
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