Well we have come to the end of another year. This year has been our most productive with the Hope Academy projects.
TREC (Training Resourcing & Equipping Coaches)
This was run for the first time in Drakenstein. The course ran for a week and trained the inmates how to use sport to impact their communities.
The young men were trained as coaches. The response was brilliant and the inmates surprised everyone.
The course showed that these young men can use soccer to bring hope and change back in their communities once released.
It was great to hear the testimonies and progress that many of the young men in Drakenstein had made this year.
Ex Academy members came and we celebrated the year with a meal and recognition of players who had impacted the Academy on and off the field.
The Academy also ended the year unbeaten and were presented the league trophy.
Leeuwkop has been setting the foundation for the new season in 2010.
Trials have been done and most of the squad selected.
The Academy will enter a league which is an exciting new development.
You may remember that AIS and government were in discussions about a partnership agreement leading in 2010.
This agreement has been approved by Correctional Services legal team and will be signed in early 2010.
This agreement will enable AIS to run and oversee hope Academies in Correctional Centers around South Africa.
This will enable us to reach more young men through the program and see God impact their lives.
New inmates will be selected to be in the academies next year. Some boys will be released and others will remain in the program.
With the World Cup happening there will be many visiting teams and events for the Hope Academies. It will be an exciting year.
Dear friends, the Hope Academy projects in both prisons have continued to go from strength to strength.
In Leeuwkop (Johannesburg) we have recently overseen the following:-
1. Academy level training through our License C curriculum that deals with passing as a foundation.
2. Life skills training focusing on forgiveness (we saw this was a great need in the academy).
3. Hosted mission touring team during Confederation Cup.
4. Made contacts into surrounding leagues to register the academy in a local football association in 2010.
In Drakenstein prison (Cape Town) we have recently overseen the following:
1. Our Academy in the local Helderberg League. Currently the team is top of the league and unbeaten for the season.
2. 2 of our players have been released. 1 player has been registered in a local team (we took him to trials) and we are trying to secure employment (Jam Jam). The other player is to be employed as an electrician (Enver).
3. We hosted a family day for all the prisoners in the academy. This was an extremley successful day. The family members testified about their hurt and fear for their children in prison and how the program has brought hope.
4. We are starting a community project where the academy boys will coach children in a local school.
We are excited about the progress made in the academies this year. Correctional Services in South Africa have seen the impact of the program and now want to go into a Memorandum of Agreement with Ambassadors In Sport to develop elite soccer academies in prisons around the country. This is the first initiative of this world wide to our knowledge.
Recently I visited our Hope Academy in Leeuwkop in Johannesburg. The prison authorities are very pleased with the program and the development of the prisoners. It was amazing to see the boys learning about life and then sing for 45 minutes in their cell. The spirits are high and the academy is making an obvious difference in each inmate. We are now looking at developing this model in other prisons nationwide. The Cape Town Academy in Drakenstein is also running very well. The boys are top of their league (we entered the team in an external community league). The prison has also seen changes in the inmates and used our model to run other sports codes in the prison.
We are delighted to announce the launch of our two Hope Academies in Leeuwkop Prison, Johannesburg and Drakenstein Prison, Cape Town.
Leeuwkop prison ran trials in the whole juvenile section and chose 28 inmates to participate in the program for 2009. AIS were given permission to do trials in 4 different juvenile prisons around the Western Cape and select 22 players for the Drakenstien Academy.
Both academies have started to implement the new AIS Academy curriculum, which has had immediate impact on the program and the players in the academies. The academy material has been developed and written over the past 5 years and we believe will be revolutionary for soccer development in South Africa.
It is going to be an exciting year ahead and we believe strongly that this program will impact the lives of many prisoners in South Africa.
The Drakenstein Academy has been accepted into an external league for the first time. Both academies are also training wardens and inmates to help run the program.
The pictures show both squads on the day.
There is no doubt in my mind that this has been the best year with the Hope Academy project. There are too many stories and testimonies of the changes in the boy’s lives that can fit into this end of year report but we will highlight a couple for you.
The Academy in Drakenstein, Cape Town has been very successful this year. We have seen boys come leave gangsterism, give up smoking, and much more! We have truly been blown away by what has been achieved this year.
Over the year we spent a lot of time speaking in depth about real issues with the team. Many of the boys were released at the end of 2008 and will face REAL challenges in their communities. Sex, unemployment, drugs, alcohol abuse, poverty are some of the issues they will face.
We are pleased to say that 18 of the 22 original squad graduated from the program. The boys managed to withstand persecution in the prison whilst maintaining the discipline and behaviour expected within the program. On 21st November we had the end of year graduation. This was a great event as boys testified about what the program has done in their lives. We gave certificates to each boy and awards for the season. We celebrated the day with a match and pizza.
The Leeuwkop Academy has continued to grow from strength to strength. The boys are all growing and the team unity has been strong.
In October, we took most of the boys on a camp outside Johannesburg. This was a massive breakthrough as it was the first time Correctional Services had allowed this. It was a time that the boys could just be boys and live a normal life again. The camp was an amazing time of fellowship where the boys swam, sang, ate and were fed spiritually. It was a great sight seeing these young men smile and to see another side to them.
Finally the boys had 2 matches against a touring AIS team to Mozambique. This was a great time where the team spoke to the boys. The AIS touring team was amazed at the talent of the Leeuwkop Academy - life has gifted these boys with amazing talent - it just needs to be placed into the right areas and used for what it was intended.
We are now doing trials for our 2009 academies. We have been following up the boys who have been released at the end of 2008. Some of the boys will go to school, find employment and we will try to help them realise their dreams. The academies for 2009 will be launched in both prisons on the 20th of February 2009.
"In the beginning of the year I could not handle the rules of the Academy, to be honest I struggled to obey every single one. As I stand here today I can honestly say I don't even have to look at the rules - I can handle every one and it has become easy for me. I have changed a lot".
Luyanda Jam Jam who graduated from the Drakenstein Academy in 2008. Luyanda will continue in the program in 2009.
Thanks for everyone who has supported this work during 2008 and for helping us impact these young lives for the better!
Here is a testimony of a boy impacted in the 2008 Academy in Leeukop:-
Aubrey Muthego Tshikulumela
Aubrey is a young man with a bright future! Blessed with amazing soccer talent and a great attitude we believe he has the ability to make a success of his life. As Captain of the academy, Aubrey always led by example and encouraged every player in the academy. He had a heart to change and made every effort to climb towards his potential. Aubery was released in Oct 2008. He is now playing locally at Castle level. It has been great to see him continue where he left off in the prison. He is continuing his soccer and studying. His dream for the future is to play at a high level and coach kids in Soweto by obtaining his coaching badges. We believe he will progress in every area of his life!
We continue to be in contact with Aubery and will assist him in 2009 in his football, faith and future.
We would love to hear back from our donors and if you require further updates or any information please don't hesitate to contact me.
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AIS SA Director