Ntando in action at the VCT Tournament
To celebrate Youth Day on June 16th, we hosted our first VCT Tournament held in Addo, a small rural town outside Port Elizabeth, with soccer and netball being the two sports played. The point of this tournament was to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and to encourage HIV counseling and testing. On the day, we accomplished testing 74 youth in the age 12-17 years and 54 older than 18 years. Of the 74 children, none were HIV positive and of the older youth, 24 % tested HIV positive. The community of Addo pleaded us to come back and get their kids more involved in sport. “We are happy when our kids are having fun and learning at the same time, as AIDS is a big problem” commented one of the parents.
The United Through Sport SA Senior School of Excellence (SSE) has been lucky enough to get a kitchen-makeover in April. Stanley House from Wellington College in the UK raised funds to be used to renovate the kitchen at our School of Excellence. The UTS SA kitchen, which was in desperate need of an upgrade, is currently used to feed more than 150 children per day who participate in the sports program coordinated by UTS SA at Ithembelihle High School in New Brighton. “The kitchen is now more pleasant to work in, the running water being the highlight of the upgrade” Nokuthula Mcondobi, Food Assistant, Umzingisi.
We have put into practice, with the assistance of international volunteers, measures to work on the SSE kids’ language skills; the emphasis of this being improving the kids’ spoken English. For two afternoons a week, the students have discussion sessions on various topics, ranging from alcohol, under-age sex, abortion, performance enhancing drugs, relationships and gender roles to politics, religion and the World Cup. These are just a few of the topics, drama games are also included as well as reading and presenting exercises. It was amazing to see, as time went, the shy kids coming out of their shells and expressing their opinions. The fact that the topics are on taboo subjects most of the time, these discussions get heated as the kids are not shy to strongly oppose each other on their different views and perspectives. On a weekly basis, we call in external facilitators to conduct life skills workshops with the kids. They cover topics such as early parenthood, time management, sexual health, alcohol and drug addictions, self esteem and motivation, communication skills and financial budgeting, just to name a few.
Four of our SSE boys played their first chess tournament three months ago and according to Aviwe, one of the players in the tournament, this was an exhilarating learning experience full of fun and they all learned a lot from it. We introduced this game to the kids with the vision of it being helping the kids in terms of their problem solving skills, their concentration levels, strategizing and it promoting, amongst many other things, their mental awareness. With the exception of the youngest player, the boys each won a minimum of 2 games in the tournament.
On the sports field, the SSE boys and girls have been very busy with school leagues, tournaments and trying out for provincial colours. The soccer boys played a big FNB Victoria Park Soccer Challenge, which had a few national schools coming down to Port Elizabeth to compete. Our U/19 boys did us very proud by making it to the final; where they were the runner-ups of the tournament. Our netball girls and rugby boys also took part in a big event; the FNB Classic Clashes; where both netball and rugby went home with the title, with the rugby boys winning it for the third year in a row. We are also proud to say that we have a representative in the EP U/19 Netball team (provincial), Nomawethu Runeli, who made the team in the beginning of June.
Over the last week of July, UTS SA has had three visits from schools in the UK. The netball girls played against St Albans High School for Girls and the rugby played Wellington College as well as Sedbergh School. It is always a pleasure for our kids to host such schools of prestige and play them in the townships. It means even more when, like Sedbergh did, the opponents spend the whole day experiencing life in a typical day of a South African child in the less advantaged areas of our country. The Sedbergh boys sat in classes with our boys, which was a different experience to what they are familiar with. “It was challenging playing against them, and learning about England earlier in the day was very interesting. They have as few as six students in a class, I have never heard of that! We have six times that amount!” Ludwe Jack, Grade 12, UTS SA Beneficiary
These past few months have been activity packed, our kids are progressing both on and off the field and we have enjoyed the visitors we have had, who now hopefully have a better understanding of the needs these children have. We appreciate all the assistance and helping hands from our donors, enabling UTS SA to carry out the work it does.
“It is great to see how our programme is affecting the lives of the youth in South Africa, assisting them in their growth and developing them to be responsible young citizens, giving them hope for a better future”.- Spakes Xapile, Project Manager, UTS SA.
Mobile Testing Clinics at the VCT Tournament
Getting their hands dirty renovating the kitchen
Some kitchen appliances donated by Stanley House
Siphosethu learning how to perform CPR
Sedbergh and Umzingisi Rugby Boys