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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AIS SA Director