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Dec 12, 2017

Oprah School Scholarship

It is relatively safe to assume that everyone has heard the name “Oprah Winfrey” before. As one of the most influential women in the world, this lady has done amazing work trying to bring change to people’s lives all over the world. One of her initiatives to bring about this change was starting a school for girls in South Africa, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG) ten years ago, which was inspired by her own humble beginnings and disadvantaged background. The purpose of this school is to offer educational opportunities and pathways to success to academically gifted girls from difficult backgrounds that have the potential and commitment to succeed in life and become change makers in the world.

It was thrilling news to receive the update that one of our Junior School of Excellence (JSE) beneficiaries, Sisipho, has been accepted to OWLAG to start high school in the year 2018. Sisipho is 12 years old and has been a United Trough Sport beneficiary for the last two years, and we were definitely not surprised that she would make the cut for such an opportunity. A very bubbly, confident and beautiful young lady, Sisipho has shown determination and commitment in everything she does at the JSE. She has a very warm personality and a strength beyond words that inspires her peers to always aim high and reach for their goals, no matter what.

Sisipho recalls how nervous she was throughout the selection process. The first round was in April in the form of written assessments here in Port Elizabeth with other girls, which was done at the University. As confident as she is generally, she could not control her nerves as just the thought of the name “Oprah” was pressure to perform. Following that, she was called to attend a two-day camp at OWLAG, which she had to travel to by plane in July. The next round was a home visit by the representatives of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in September and she got the final news of her acceptance in October. 

One of Sisipho’s dreams is to study at a University in the States when she is finished with high school, and personally meet Miss Oprah Winfrey. She prays that her grandmother, who she lives with currently, can witness her graduation in a few years. She strives to make her grandmother proud and to set a good example for her younger brother.

We are absolutely very proud that she will be getting such a prestigious opportunity and wish her all the best in her new venture! Sisipho has a strong head on her shoulders and we will be looking out for her in the next few years!

Oct 13, 2017

Surf's Up for United Through Sport

It is exciting to tell you about a new programme that our Senior School of Excellence children are involved in. United Through Sport has partnered with Waves For Change, an organisation that uses surfing as therapy and provides skills to cope with stress, regulate behaviour, build healing relationships and make positive life choices.

On the 14th August, after identifying the children that would benefit the most from this programme, we started the Friday sessions with Waves For Change where the children will be going through a 20 week programme at the beach.  Before their first session, the children had mixed emotions about this programme as they could not fully understand what “surf therapy” meant and did not know what to expect. However, after being on the surf boards in their wet suits on the first session, they totally loved it and have been excitedly attending the sessions. They have also built good relationships with the mentors in the programme, and thoroughly enjoy the life skills & therapy aspects of the programme.

After a long week of school and playing sport, it is very relaxing for these youngsters to spend Friday afternoons on the beach, on a surf board and just “’talking stuff out”, as the kids put it, with their Waves For Change mentors. As we had carefully selected the children that needed this kind of programme, it is amazing to note the difference in their attitude in the past few weeks. We have seen a change in their attitude to school work as well as their behaviour in our regular after-school sessions. We totally understand that there is something special and calming about the beach, especially when you get to meditate and also learn a new skill. Surfing has obviously always been associated with a certain demographic in our country, so learning this rare skill is very empowering for these youngsters.

As this is an extra programme to coordinate, we are grateful that expenses such as transport and food for the children can be catered for by our Global Giving sponsors. We are hopeful for a long lasting relationship with Waves For Change, where we can send more children in 2018 to benefit from the surf therapy.

“I never thought I could be able to surf, and I had no idea there was such a thing as surf therapy. I honestly have only ever seen anyone surfing on TV, and it’s always boys but I am now able to stand on the surf board and hope to be able to catch big waves soon” – Nkcubeko, 14 years old, SSE Beneficiary.

Sep 14, 2017

Proudly Representing Eastern Province Sport

At United Through Sport we are committed to using sport to develop disadvantaged kids. Sport is a powerful tool that can be used to benefit learners and to create a lot of opportunities to excel.

The United Through Sport beneficiaries do not only excel academically but also on the sport field. The Eastern Province sports teams have been selected and we are proud to announce that ten of our beneficiaries have been chosen.

From our Junior School of Excellence (JSE) six learners were selected to represent the province and from the Senior School of Excellence (SSE) four learners were selected.

From the JSE Ethan from Papenkuil Primary and Jason from Bethelsdorp Primary were selected for the U13 A rugby team. Caleb and Wayvin from Astra Primary were selected for the U13 A boy’s hockey team and Trent was selected for the Vipers Indoor Hockey U12 B team. Shameese from Van der Kemp Primary has been selected for the U12 A netball team.

From the SSE Kayrian from Grey High School has been selected for the U 14 A boy’s hockey team and Storm also from Grey has been selected for the U16 A boy’s hockey team. Kaylin and Kyra from Pearson High School were both selected for the U18 A girl’s hockey team. Excitingly Kyra was also selected for the U17 South Africa team due to her strong performance at the Provincial tournament.  This is the second year in a row that Kyra has made the national age group side.

We are proud of these learners and we hope that they will serve as a motivation to our other beneficiaries.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”-Nido Qubein

 
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