Wow! What a year we have had in the Drakenstein Hope Academy. The year has been extremely successful on many fronts. Throughout the year we have seen many young men develop in their football, faith and future. The past few months have been busy as we prepare for the 2011 season. This year we have had around 200 people visit the Academy from countries all around the World. We have also had around 25 local schools amounting to +-1000 children come and visit the prison, learn about crime and hear the testimonies of the young men in the Academy. We can only marvel at God in what he is doing in and through the Academy. Enjoy some updates from the Academy!
We had the privilege to run a family day alongside Correctional Services for all the young men. Many of the families attended and it was great to see the young men reunite with family members and especially those who have young children outside. The day was a great success.
On the 27th of November we had a graduation day which was a very special time. Many awards were handed out and the young men were rewarded for their hard work and dedication this year. Many will be leaving next year and it was a time to formally acknowledge young men who we have worked with for some time.
COLLEGE OF CAPE TOWN
We are glad to announce that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the COCT for educational and skills development of young men who have been released from the Hope Academy Program. This is a significant agreement as we look to empower these young men and give them practical training to help them find employment and realise their dreams. An article on Hope Academy was also published in the College’s regional magazine about our partnership. We have had two young men on the Electrical Engineering course and one young man is signed up on the Automotive course for 2011.
Over the past few months we have been facilitating trials in other prisons across the Western Cape. These trials are to select new squad members for 2011. We have selected 30 inmates on our provisional list and these young men will be invited for a final trial in January 2011. We hope to have the new squad in place by the end of January 2010.
What is going to happen to all the young men being released? With 85% of prisoners returning to prison in South Africa Hope Academy makes every effort to support our ex-Academy members once they leave prison. Here are some stats on the 20 boys who have graduated from Hope Academy since 2008.
Back in Prison 10%
Finally I would like to thank all our supporters and partners for helping us bring true hope to these young men in prison. Without you it would not be possible.
I would also like to thank our team in the prison Adam Bull, Dinesh Nevins Selvadurai, Lindsey Petit and Bruce Nadin for all their hard work and dedication.
With thanks, Mark Slessenger
Chris Ntese has been with the Academy since 2009. Chris will be released in January and has been working on his business management certificate whilst in the Academy. We have high hopes for Chris as he is a talented player and we hope to get him trials with a first division team in South Africa as well as assist him further with his studies. Chris has grown in his football, faith and future and won 2 awards at the end of year Graduation. This young man is going to do great things once released.
Thulani Gantso arrived with us in January from Pollsmoor Prison. It was a miracle that he arrived as we never selected him on the trials! However God had a plan for Thulani and us and he has been a revelation in the Academy. Thulani will continue with us next year and the Academy will be putting him through a Sports Management Course. Thulani is a great example to the other players and can be seen here with his daughter.