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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