Happy New Year to all of you! Here are some amazing highlights of 2012 in the project.
2012 was an exciting year for the Legalwise Soweto Hope academy. We kicked off the year with an in-house training of the Soweto stuff team by Dave Waters who is a Hope Academy technical director based in Cape Town. The training was on football philosophy which was and still is developed to be unique to Hope Academy. The goal of the training was to empower the team to be able to implement the developed philosophy. This training provided a solid foundation to make the year a success in training our children and givng them the best possible coaching expierence.
In April we had an event that brought 120 supporters and members of the community who were involved in the field laying of the Hope Academy, coming together for the celebration of the fruit of their labour and to witness the impact of such hard work
As a way of connecting to other children in the community and growing the Hope Academy awareness we had our annual soccer coaching clinic to commemorate the Youth Day on the 16th of June. The highlight of this event is that local coaches who were trained by our coaches through our coaching community course are presented with an opportunity to give back to the kids in the community while gaining experience by putting into practise what they have learned. The event was attended by 116 people.
18 July Mandela day the academy hosted visitors from Durham school based in the UK. The school brought 25 youth and four coaches who came to interact with the Hope Academy kids. The visitors were also taken to visit the local schools were the Hope Academy kids attend as learners. This visit gave the academy an opportunity to strengthen the relations with the local schools.
To further go deeper with the kids the academy went on a two day camp. The theme was royalty and kids were taught that they are very special and should not look down upon themselves. This presented a time of healing for the kids as they opened up. The impact of this camp went beyond our expectations as some of the kids remain open to talk about the everyday challenges they are experiencing in life.
On the 1st of December the kids had a family fun day and an award ceremony. This gave them an opportunity to bond with family members through various activities. This allows families to connect with one another and to see how much they really need each other. The day was ended with an award given ceremony where children were acknowledged and affirmed in various categories. About 102 people came to the event.
There are many stories we could share but meet 12 year old Mbali Banda (pictured). His parents passed on in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and is raised by his granny. In 2010 I went to visit his school to hear about his progress. At that time in grade 4, Mbali’s teachers never gave him a slight chance to progress beyond grade 6. Through being tutored at HA Mbali improved gaining confidence and developing a ‘’work hard’’ ethic and has now progressed to grade 7.
Another celebration was that Nosipho Mahlathi who is 12 years old was selected to play for the South African Football Association regional u13 girls squad. She was spotted at school and was drafted in the squad. She was recently received an award as the most improved individual in Football excellence.
Finally the best news we had recieved was that all our children passed their school year - this gave us a 100% pass rate in the Academy. Recently education has been a topic of conversation and media attention in South Africa because of poor grades and children dropping out of school. Our dedication and focus on education with our children certainly paid dividends.
Thanks for your support and we can't wait to start in 2013 - all the kids come back in early February for the new year.