Girls & Football SA is incredibly grateful for all your generous donations this year. Because of you, we were able to host a very select and successful workshop on Saturday, 02 March 2013, for approximately 40 girls aged between 8 and 13 from Lynedoch Primary School outside Stellenbosch.
Fives Futbol at the V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, was kind enough to allow us to make use of their facilities. We were two workshop leaders, and five volunteers - two all the way from The Netherlands! The girls arrived bright and early at 9am, brimming with excitement. After a warm welcome and laying down some rules, we warmed up with by stretching. Then, the girls were split into four groups for the football drills. After a much-needed water break, it was time for the life skills workshops. The girls were split according to age - the older girls, aged 12 to 13, dealt with sexuality and safety (a very relevant topic in South Africa), while the younger girls looked at peer pressure and self-esteem. Role plays were used to illustrate scenarios, and the girls shared intimate information in the safe spaces created by the workshop leaders and volunteers.
After the life skills workshop, it was time for what the girls had been waiting for all morning - the football tournament! The girls back in their four teams, the competition could begin. The matches were fast-paced and exciting, and it was heartwarming, particularly for the workshops leaders, to see how the girls have progressed since the weekly workshops at Lynedoch last year - not only in terms of treating each other with more respect, but also in terms of their football skills. Cheers rang out when goals were scored, and the “coaches” were constantly encouraging and congratulating the girls. Then the winning teams played against each other, and the other two played for third place. The final ended with a penalty shoot-out and the triumphant team celebrated ecstatically.
Then it was time to hand out certificates. The girls had been told right at the beginning of the day that there would be certificates for the best football player, the girl who participated the most in the life skills workshops, and for the girl who showed outstanding leadership qualities. The three girls who received the certificates were most deserving and looked thrilled at having been selected (but we of course stressed that everybody’s contributions were invaluable!) It is particularly important to note the story behind the girl who received the certificate for “Best Leadership Qualities of the Day”. At the end of the sexuality and safety workshop with the older group, two girls asked to stay behind to speak to their group leaders in private. One of the girls had had a bad experience and had some questions about it. She felt uncomfortable to speak directly to the group leaders and battled to make herself understood in English. Her friend translated for her and displayed exceptional empathy and communication skills when doing so. We were in awe of the girl’s courage to speak up, and of the trust and support evident between the two friends. Together with the leadership she showed on the football field, this deserving friend was awarded the certificate.
We are thrilled to announce that we have started running weekly workshops with the girls from St Paul’s Primary School in Bo Kaap, Cape Town, and hope that with your generous donations we can host such a successful tournament for them in the near future.