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:: “Life Is a Ball” Comes to Soweto ::

“Life Is a Ball” Comes to SowetoKDR Sports and Adventure Trust and the Jane Goodall institutes’ Roots & Shoots programmme has been interacting with youth groups in Kliptown and Lehae for some time and has cooperated in developing various programmes with the emphasis on environmental concern, human development and animals .  Towards the end of 2008 they contacted Gert Potgieter of Altus Sports and after a number of meeting agreed to hold a workshop for young people in Soweto to introduce the concept of “Life is a Ball” which is a character and morality building programme already being run in the Gauteng North by Altus sports.  It was also agreed to run the project through the Kliptown Youth Project which is a registered Not for Profit Organisation.

On the 2nd and 3rd December 2008 some 22 young people from the areas of Kliptown (Kliptown Youth Programme), Lehae and Diepkloof met at the Pimville community centre.  The two day workshop was run by Gert and his team.

“Life Is a Ball” Comes to SowetoThe very enthusiastic young people were introduced to the concept of “developing people through sport” in a holistic way.  Various techniques and specifics skills were taught in a fun way.  Various sports were covered including: soccer, netball, cricket, athletics, volleyball.  Given that sport does not take place in isolation from the other issues being faced in communities the concepts of wellness, HIV/Aids, drugs, sex etc were discussed.  Teamwork and character building are cornerstones of the programme.

The idea is that the trained youth would then go out into their communities and run on going clinics in the schools, crèches and youth groups in their areas.

The young people committed themselves to the concept and in the end of year holidays ran various fun programmes.

“Life Is a Ball” Comes to SowetoIn the new year various schools are being contacted and arrangements being made to spread the concept. The focus will be on primary schools and even crèches and the trained youth will be deployed in the schools on a one or two times a week basis to coach the kids.  In addition to the school deployment, wherever possible community centers and sports fields will be used as well.  Already plans are being put in place to a run mini/street soccer tournament in Soweto.

It is hoped that soon the trainees will be active on a full time basis as “community sports officers” spreading development through their new found skills.  Given the chronic state of unemployment especially amongst the youth of our country and especially in the townships we hope that the sports officers will be able to receive an allowance on a monthly basis so as to survive.  They will in any event be doing a valuable service in the communities.

Who knows what the fruits of the programme will be- springbok rugby players, Bafana Bafana or Banyana Banyana soccer players or just many kids reaching their own potential and having fun!

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