Township Astro-Turf Launched On Mandela Day

For United Through Sport, July 18th was not only a celebration for Mandela Day and receiving sports equipment, but also the celebration and official launch of a 1200m₂ 4G mini astro-turf at Astra Primary School, one of the Junior School of Excellence centers; a first facility of its kind in the townships of Nelson Mandela Bay. The multi-purpose astro-turf was funded by the local e’Zethu Development Trust, Empower and the Sedbergh School in the UK, through the Bhubesi Pride Foundation. Astra Primary serves as a hub in the Northern Areas, meaning that the turf will be available for structured use by the community at large primarily for Hockey and Soccer training.

By donating sports equipment, the contributors were also securing a spot to show off their football skills in friendly games played on the new turf. The first game saw the heads of the Business Chamber and UTS going head to head against the Astra boys in a very entertaining 15 minutes. Needless to say, the young blood took charge in their territory and showed the businessmen who’s boss on the turf!

With all these festivities amalgamated on Mandela Day, it was only fitting that the event was dignified by the presence of Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay and President of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Dr Danny Jordaan. Other dignitaries included the CEOS and Directors of the businesses represented in the Business Chamber, as well as representatives from the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the headmasters of our Senior School of Excellence partner schools. In a warm speech, the honourable Mayor showed appreciation for the work that United Through Sport does to uplift and develop the youth that come from such disadvantaged communities in the Bay, giving these youngsters a much brighter hope for their future.

Mandela Day 2016 was a very special day for United Through Sport, highlighting the importance of concrete partnerships to pursue common goals. It was indeed very powerful to come together with the above mentioned institutions and organisations, holding hands in promoting youth development through sport.

“Facilities like this one and partnerships like these are the key to long term sustainable development. We are proud to support this initiative and look forward to working with United Through Sport and the other key partners in the future”.
Dr Danny Jordaan, Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor.

10 of our kids visit UK Rugby Festival

Over the last week United Through Sport have been involved with bringing 10 of our under 13s children from South Africa to play against another 9 Rugby Teams from around the world. The Festival of Rugby, organised by partner charity Touraid has given our kids an amazing opportunity to travel out of South Africa for the first time and experience a totally different culture to their own.

The tour comprised of two tournament days, hosted at Henley RFC and Esher RFC, buddy days with supporting schools (ours being Ripley Court in Surrey) and cultural days in London, visiting all the great sights.

Our 10 kids stayed with a great bunch of parents and children from Ripley Court who were also competing in the tournament, providing an ideal platform to build international relationships that will hopefully continue long after the tour is over.

The tour coincided nicely with the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and the children enjoyed a surprise visit from former South Africa Rugby International, Chester Williams and John Inverdale, who has presented coverage of many major sporting events including the Olympic Games, Wimbledon, the Grand National and the FIFA World Cup.

Thanks to all those involved for making this a tour worth remembering given the huge amount of effort put in to make it happen.

Enjoy some of the photos from the tour, mainly taken at the Henley RFC tournament.

BIBA South Wales Regional Golf Day

United Through Sport recently became the nominated charity of the South Wales British Insurance Broker’s Association (BIBA), nominated by Chairman Sue Davidge. BIBA is an intermediary organisation representing the interests of Insurance Brokers and is the largest of it’s kind in the UK.

April 17th marked the region’s first Golf Day which included thirteen teams from across South Wales. The rain held off and the day was enjoyed by all. Not only was there an excellent turn-out, but over £700 was raised for United Through Sport.

We would like to thank Sue and everyone else at BIBA for their ongoing support.

 

Military Batallion raises funds for United Through Sport

£1000 was raised in memory of LCpl Oliver Thomas who was sadly killed in Afghanistan last year. United Through Sport were invited to the memorial evening which was held on the 12th of February, where Trustee David Burton was presented with a cheque.

We would like to thank the Men and Women of 3MI Battalion for raising this money for United Through Sport.

We would also like to thank Olympic Gold Medal Winning Canoeist Etienne Stott who was on hand to lend his support. We wish him all the best of luck with his preparation for competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

One World Futbol Project Kicks Off

United Through Sport is delighted to announce the commencement of our campaign with One World Futbol Project. As of Tuesday 15th April, you can purchase a nearly indestructible ball and choose to give one to United Through Sport to distribute to underprivileged children in Ghana, South Africa and Argentina.

The One World Futbol is the brainchild of inventor Tim Jahnigen. Mr Jahnigen, witnessed a news clip of children in a Darfur refugee camp playing football with trash wrapped in twine. Moved by what he saw in the children’s faces, Tim conceived the idea of an indestructible football to give children all over the world in poverty; warzones and needy communities the unlimited power of play. Funding for the prototypes came from none other than megastar Sting. Sting, a personal friend of Mr Jahnigen, was also touched by this idea and understood the healing therapy that play gives these children.

United Through Sport hopes to raise in excess of 1000 balls to put thousands of smiles on the faces of underprivileged children. With every ball donated to United Through Sport, our organisation will also receive $5. This money will be used to help build our brand new Sporting School of Excellence in Accra.

The One World Futbol is the same size and weight as a normal football, it also adapts to its environment to play the same on any surface whether that is dust, concrete or grass. If your dog has made your garden look like a graveyard for regular footballs, then you will be delighted to know that Triton the Lion in Johannesburg Zoo couldn’t come close to deflating or even damaging a One World Futbol in two days of rugged testing!

The balls don’t require pumping up. If deflated, they simply take their shape again in seconds, even if ran over by a huge truck! The children we work with do not have a vast array of toys and games, giving them the unlimited power of play gives them the chance to play, practice and most of all smile.

Businesses and individuals that do not wish to have a ball for themselves can elect to give balls in bulk to enable United Through Sport to raise more balls for deprived children, whilst helping us to move closer to building our new School of Excellence to nurture talented individuals in their respective sports and academically.

Please get involved with One World Futbol Project and United Through Sport, whether the ball you purchase is for yourself; your children; your nephews or nieces; your godchildren; your cousins; your neighbour; your dog; your old School; your weekly indoor football game or just to keep in the boot of your car for those precious Summer barbecues, festivals and beach days… see the link below for more information and purchasing.

http://www.oneworldfutbol.com/campaigns/united-through-sport

South Africa Sustainability for Feeding Scheme

This October brought around the 4th annual visit from Wellington College’s Social Apprentices. Each year for the past four years has seen Wellington send a group of young socially conscious pupils to work within the United Through Sport South Africa programmes, with a focus on creating a legacy from each trip through providing useful facilities and lasting relationships with their South African peers.

Past trips have seen the group build a kitchen, a gym facility and a computer room for the United Through Sport School of Excellence Programme. This year’s focus was creating a vegetable garden that would supply the United Through Sport kitchen with enough vegetables on an on-going basis to feed the 90 Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme participants on a daily basis, thus providing further sustainability to the programme.

The 40 Wellington College pupils and four teachers along with their 40 JSE buddies worked tirelessly for four days to turn an unused patch of land into a huge vegetable garden capable of producing 10kg of vegetables per week, including carrots, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and lettuce. The garden was also fitted with four 5000 litre water tanks and irrigation network to use the water collected from the school roof to keep the plants watered.

Apart from the success of the vegetable garden, the Wellington group also formed lasting relationships with their ‘buddies’. This programme saw them spending the week interacting with kids from the JSE programme who have been put forward for the Senior School of Excellence (SSE) scholarships for next year, with the aim of improving their communication skills and broadening their horizons. The week’s activities saw them spending time coaching sports at Emzomcane Primary School, visiting Langbos crèche near Addo, visiting Kayalethu Boys Haven and bowling with their buddies, before ending the week with an overnight trip to the Shamwari Conservation Experience.

This year’s Wellington group were so successful with their fundraising that they far surpassed the total needed for the Vegetable garden and were able to sponsor a further 5 children in the SSE programme for next year. This is added to the two currently being sponsored all the way through high school by Stanley House from the College.

“This year’s group from Wellington added such a valuable contribution through the garden, through the buddy relationships and through the funds raised for scholarships! Their annual trip has become an integral part of our programmes!” – Nosipho ‘Spakes’ Xapile – Program Manager, Junior School of Excellence Programme.

Township Kids Get Extra Special Christmas Present

A few weeks after their annual ‘Social Apprentice’ Programme, we were happy to receive news that two of the Wellington College students were coming back to sunny South Africa on holiday with their parents for Christmas. On receiving this news and the wish to spend a day with their Junior School of Excellence (JSE) buddies, we were more than happy to ensure that Rob and James could grant a Christmas wish and be reunited with their recently found buddies from South Africa, Odwa and Sinalo.

The two JSE boys were picked up early morning to spend the day with the Watters and Garvey families and the excitement was almost too much for our JSE boys as the day approached. The 22nd December finally arrived and the two groups of boys enjoyed a beautiful day together on the beaches of St Francis Bay, a coastal town situated midway between Port Elizabeth (PE) and Knysna. It was an active day filled with fun activities and memories that will be cherished forever. This was a first for Odwa and Sinalo who had never been outside of PE and certainly never had the chance to enjoy the luxury of speedboats and jet skis. The day culminated in a race on the beach which was won by Odwa and Sinalo, who were rewarded with medals in a fun ceremony at the end.

For the families, it was a great pleasure to have Odwa and Sinalo; as they expressed how well behaved the two JSE boys were. Rob and James had also been given letters and Christmas cards by their friends back home in England to pass on to their relevant South African buddies. It is great to see that the children are being pro-active in maintaining the friendships built on their tour.

We truly appreciate the effort the Watters’ and Garvey’s put in to making it possible for the boys to re-unite. The children in our programs are not fortunate enough to have such outings with their families, so it meant the world to these two boys. We hope it is a relationship that will continue into the future.

“Spending the day with my buddy was the best Christmas present ever because I thought I would never see him again. The year 2012 was a very special year to me.”- Sinalo Mazoko, JSE Beneficiary 2012

Our School of Excellence Buddies Up With Wellington College

Once again, it was that time of the year when we had our annual visit from our good friends at Wellington College. For three consecutive years now, this UK school has been paying us visits as part of their ‘Social Apprentice’ Programme , where they spend a full week getting involved in our programmes and community projects associated with us.

The week of the 20th-28th October was filled with emotions, especially for the 30 children from Wellington on their first visit to South Africa. Upon arrival, our staff welcomed them in a truly South African manner; a braai (South African barbeque) and traditional dancing in the evening. The Wellington staff found it very entertaining to watch some of the kids try their hand in some Zulu and Xhosa dancing, which was a sight for sore eyes for the rest of the group! With the excitement buzzing about the packed week ahead, the group, unlike us, was not very bothered about the gloomy weather they brought from England.

In order for the group to appreciate the opportunity presented to them in this tour, they had to have a true sense of what a typical life looks like for the average South African. Their first working day started off with a visit to our Junior School of Excellence (JSE) where they had a warm welcome from the teachers as well as a tour of the school. This was rather eye-opening as this school was nothing compared to the school life they are used to. Some of the most evident differences were the underdeveloped sports grounds and lack of facilities such as school library, gym, cafeteria, art, science, music departments etc. After the tour of the school, it was time to see some of the living conditions of the children; a township tour that included the history of the townships of Port Elizabeth. Driving and walking around the townships, the kids got to witness the poverty in South Africa they often hear about in the media. With the heavy rains in the weeks leading to this visit, the group saw the damage the floods had done and the distraught families in the informal settlements with flooded shacks.

The afternoon was full of excitement as the Wellington kids met their buddies for the week from the JSE and relationships were built. The children demonstrated to us the power of youth by immediately bonding with their buddies and casting all social and cultural differences aside. In their pairs, the kids got involved in different activities for the remainder of the afternoon. Included in these activities was the painting of the soon to be Computer / Library Room at the JSE as well as painting some pillars at the school with Wellington’s 8 aptitudes approach to education and wellbeing of children. The following two days were spent camping in the wild, where the Wellington group learnt some survival skills. For the rest of the week, the Wellington group got involved in community projects we are linked with, such as Zama after school club and Khayalethu Haven for street children; spending a lot of time assisting disadvantaged children. The working week ended off with a day outing for all the buddies. All 60 kids were taken bowling and enjoyed a rugby match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium; which was built specifically for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The bowling was a first time experience for the JSE children, as was the stadium experience for most of them.

The final touch for the Wellington group was the unexpected send-off as their buddies surprised them at the airport to bid them farewell. As emotional as it was, everyone was happy to have met and made new friends that would forever remain in their memories.

We’d like to thank Neil Lunnon and his team for all the fundraising done for UTS, and for bringing us yet another delightful group of Wellington scholars! We look forward to hosting next year’s group and maintaining the great relationship built with Wellington over the past few years.

“The relationship with Wellington is so multifaceted, we get such a combination of fantastic results, not only do the children build great relationships and broaden their horizons to whole new worlds, not only does our JSE benefit from the skills and knowledge transfer from Wellington, but the children benefit from new facilities and scholarship options due to the funds raised by the Wellington children”, Nosipho Xapile, Programme Manager, United Through Sport.

Dutch Hockey Team Visit South Africa

On the 07th August 2012, United Through Sport was pleased to host Were Di Tilburg, a Dutch Hockey team on a South African tour. A total of 39 people were with the group; which consisted of two girls’ teams and the coaching staff.

The girls had been on tour for a few days before visiting our organisation and had been playing against some of the best schools in the country. Our visit would be slightly different for the girls though; we would give them some insight to the less fortunate areas of our country; get them to mingle with children in disadvantaged schools, do some coaching with them and exchange cultural values and beliefs.

Before getting to the Junior School of Excellence (JSE) for a coaching clinic, we took the group on a township tour, which included a visit to a local museum and a visit to a “Sangoma” (an African traditional healer). A couple of the girls and staff got dressed up in the Sangoma dress code, which was quite a beautiful sight and an awesome experience for them!

At the JSE the Dutch players got involved in mentoring session where the girls taught the kids some Dutch songs and games and had a good time; learning a bit more about their backgrounds. The girls were a bit emotional and really had a heart-warming session with the kids, they came out of the session with a different perspective on life; they all seemed to be on a mission to complain less and appreciate more in life as their eyes were opened up to the hardships people face daily within our communities. At the end of the session, lunch was served for everyone and the girls moved on to the second part of the coaching before their matches with the Gelvandale semi-professional hockey teams.

The last part of the day before the matches was coaching at the Gelvandale hockey turf, which the girls enjoyed very much and got them ready for their matches later that evening. The atmosphere was amazing at the clubhouse, with the Dutch players feeling right at home hearing Afrikaans, which is very similar to Dutch! Were Di Tilburg junior girls won their game while the senior took a beating from the local team. The presentation after the matches was an amazing time for both teams to bond. Gifts were exchanged and the two clubs wished each other well and good relations were built, in the hope of crossing paths again in the near future. The relationship has now inspired the Gelvandale Hockey Club (a team made up of players from previously disadvantaged backgrounds) to aim to tour Holland in 2014.

A few weeks after the visit, we were happy to receive 9 pallets of boxes of hockey equipment and kit that Were Di Tilburg donated to us, including 900 hockey sticks and 120 tracksuits. The teams had started with collecting the donations and raising funds before their departure, so that the shipment could arrive soon after their visit. United Through Sport is thrilled at the start of the relationship and hopes it will continue long into the future.

“The children we met today had so little and yet they were so happy and friendly and welcoming to us. It’s definitely taught me about appreciating what I have and being kinder to others”, Dutch Player, Were Di Tilburg.

Youth Day Celebrations in South Africa

To celebrate Youth Day, we held an event on 15th June in partnership with Love Life and Letsema Circle at the Jabavu Rugby Stadium in Kwa-Nobuhle, Uitenhage. The Department of Health, Education, Home Affairs were also involved on the day, with stations set up for Diabetes testing, High Blood Pressure and HIV/AIDS testing (DoH), and birth registration and ID registration (DoHA). Ten schools from the community were invited to the event and our volunteers were happy to get a feel of what other organisations do.

Opening the event were performances by the youth of Kwa-Nobuhle, including traditional dancing and musicals based on the history and the meaning of June 16. This was also very educational to our international volunteers; getting the deeper meaning and importance of their involvement on this day. The theme of the event was centred on bridging the gap between the youth and their parents, where the parents are of support to the youth. The youth were to enjoy the activities planned, together with their parents, engaging in sport and educational programmes.

Dialogue was opened between the adults and the young people on topics affecting youth in society. Issues such as peer pressure, the difference in generations and times that affect the parent-child relationship were discussed in groups. Options for a channel of communication between the child and the parents were discussed as it was discovered that this was a prevalent problem in the community. We know firsthand how most of the children in our programmes are too scared to approach their parents with their problems and prefer to talk to our life skills coaches instead. The Love Life team also had an open discussion on the challenges of youth as well as information sharing on career guidance.

On the sports side of the event, we were doing what we know best; engaging 104 young people in sports and life skills activities, using the Yputh Development through Sports (YDS) toolkit to discuss HIV/AIDS. The children were ecstatic to have such fun activities which catered for their age group, compared to the norm of listening to speeches all day long. They also got to watch two soccer matches; one of which being a ladies game. Also organised was a boxing bout and a taebo session.

The event had a total reach of 823 people. Love Life had 63 youth in their discussions and Letsema had a total of 53 taking part in their activities. The health department tested a total of 37 for HIV/AIDS and 51 for high blood pressure and diabetes. The department also distributed a total of 6000 condoms on the day. The department of home affairs had a total of 30 enquiries on the day, which were applications for identity documents and birth registration.

This event was a great success, especially since it was a first of its kind in this community. Our international volunteers were happy to experience such events that bring out the culture and history of South Africa. We received positive feedback from the community, with the wish of having more events like this. All partners in the event are happy to have been part of it and to have brought activities to the community of Kwa-Nobuhle to celebrate Youth Day.

“I had such a great time at the stadium, dancing and playing with the kids but also learnt a great deal about the struggles that South African youth went through.” – Stacey Watson, Football Coaching Volunteer from Canada.