United Through Sport South Africa Delivers 11 Budding Provincial Sport Stars

Kiara Meyer and Sachin Padayachee are two of eleven United Through Sport South Africa beneficiaries who have been selected to represent their province in hockey and rugby.

ELEVEN children who are participating in United Through Sport South Africa’s programmes in Nelson Mandela Bay have been selected to represent their province (states) in either rugby or hockey.

“We are exceptionally proud of these young sport stars who always give their best on the field. Nurturing talent from a young age is crucial for the development of the children and we pride ourselves in unlocking sporting opportunities for the talented children who participate in our programmes,” said United Through Sport South Africa Director Nick Mould.

Currently 140 children across Nelson Mandela Bay participate in United Through Sport’s Junior School of Excellence (JSE) programme. The programme offers an additional two hours of teaching and coaching every day after school – providing extra academic support in Maths and English, further sports coaching, life skills classes and personal mentoring. Deserving children from the JSE are then selected for our Senior School of Excellence Programme (SSE), for placement at some of the top participating high schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

At Astra Primary School three boys were selected for the EP Hockey Under-13 team: Caylan Fouché (C team), Trent Gunn (B team) and Coby Jonas (C team). In addition, Caleb Gaseba – also from Astra Primary School – was selected for the EP Hockey Under-14 A team. In the Under-14 B team Sachin Padayachee was selected to represent his school, Alexander Road High School.

Claredon Park pupil Wayvin Meyer made the EP Hockey Under-13 A team, while fellow school mate Keenan Martin had been selected for the final round of the EP Rugby Trials which will be held in Bloemfontein later this month, where the A and B teams are selected.

At St. George’s Primary School Keanu van Niekerk made the EP Hockey Under 13-B team and Clireez Brugh made the EP Hockey Under-13 B team.

In the United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme, Kiara Meyer from Alexander Road High School made the Hockey Under 18-A team, as well as Kyra Jurgens from Pearson High School.

UTS Caribbean Roll Out Marchand Swim Programme

St. Lucia is a beautiful island surrounded by clear blue sea however many of its inhabitants are unable to swim and drownings are not uncommon, particularly within the island’s underprivileged communities.

Our seven-week Marchand swim programme is designed to give the opportunity for young children from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn basic swimming techniques in open water as well as vital survival, and even lifesaving skills! Sessions are being run daily for up to 8 children at a time during and after school, with free transport to and from sessions provided for participants.

Lessons are being led by our swim coach Megan Holms; who is returning after previous placements with us in St. Lucia (2015) and our South Africa project (2016).  As an experienced and qualified lifeguard and swim coach Megan has been working hard to enhance our St. Lucia swim programme and expand our reach across the island.

Three Solid Years of Impacting Children’s Lives Through Sport

WHAT does a pilot, medical student and aspiring lawyer have in common? Their lives have all been transformed by United Through Sport South Africa.

A total of 19 young adults who graduated from United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme over the past three years have successfully moved onto tertiary studies or the working world, which is evidence of the progress made by the not-for-profit organisation in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

Since founded in 2005, United Through Sport has used sport as a tool to develop children from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds. Starting at Primary School level, with our Mass Participation and Junior School of Excellence Programmes, we journey with committed children through to high school, where they receive top level education through our Senior School of Excellence Programme, at some of the best schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

A recent Impact Report shows that these United Through Sport programmes not only yielded the positive outcomes intended by the organisation, they also had a far deeper effect and encouraging spin-offs than what United Through Sport had anticipated, said United Through Sport Director and Co-Founder Nick Mould.

Just a few highlights of the results achieved between 2015 and 2017 include:

  • United Through Sport doubled its intake of Senior School of Excellence beneficiaries from 49 to 89 children (compared to the previous period 2012- 2014). The learners have consistently achieved a 100% Grade 12 pass rate every year.
  • In the Junior School of Excellence Programme, we have improved the English and Maths results of the participating children by 20% for Maths and 30% for English. 431 children received extra academic support, further sports development, life skills and personal mentoring in the period 2015 to 2017.
  • The total number of children reached by our Mass Participation Programme over the past three years (2015 to 2017) were 34 569. The programme involves direct sports coaching, life skills and critical issues teaching at 180 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The results from the Impact Report were obtained through tests, surveys, interviews and focus groups conducted by our staff as well as an independent researcher.

“The areas and evidence of change are hugely encouraging signs that we are progressing in the right direction. The children’s lived experiences inform our future analysis, evaluation and planning for programme development and growth as an organisation. We are proud of the outcomes of the past three years of intervention in the lives of the children of Nelson Mandela Bay – as we continue to support children in their rights to play, be healthy and get access to a good education to enable them to fulfil their full potential,” Mould said.

Thank you from our beneficiaries:

“When I look at my friends now, every friend is either pregnant or in jail. You’ve changed my life. You made my dreams into reality. Continue to help kids find their purpose in life. Continue doing the great job that you are doing!” – Lindiwe Cezula (Politics and Public Administration Student, Nelson Mandela University)

“United Through Sport gave me such an amazing opportunity. I feel like I have grown much more and have been exposed to many more opportunities and people thanks to United Through Sport. The fact that they also saw me as a deserving candidate for the bursary inspired confidence in me that I never previously had.” – Bronwyn White (Medical Student, University of the Free State)

 

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.

Young St Lucian swings his way to the top

Ealier this year, young up and coming tennis star Ishmel Moise, from ‘Tennis St Lucia’, received a new tennis racket as part of “United Through Sport” summer donations drive. With it, he has secured a number of titles including Boys 12 and under Champion in the 5th Annual Easter Junior Tennis Tournament and the Semi Finals in the previous KIA National Independence Tennis Tournament.

Following these initial tournament successes, he trained continuously to be selected for the St. Lucia Team who travelled to Antigua for the annual Caribbean Junior Invitational 12 & under tournament. Ishmel played hard in the round robin competition but unfortunately did not make it to the main draw of the event. He performed exceptionally in the consolation draw and made his team & country very proud.

United Through Sport & The St. Lucia Tennis Association encourages young juniors like Ishmel, to specialize in the sport. The aim of the summer donations drive is to help children develop humility, flexibility, acceptance, fairness, and integrity through involvement in sport. United Through Sport in country coordinator Joel Martin said “giving the children a chance to learn the rules of the game and develop a love of the sport can help cultivate a child’s character and integrity. We look forward to many more impressive victories from Ishmel and others on the programme”.

How we changed an American’s life

Domineque Scott came to South Africa to work with United Through Sport in an effort to change the lives of disadvantaged children there — what she found changed her life.

In a recent visit to her old University, East Stroudsburg University, USA, Scott explained how her experiences in South Africa had influenced her new direction in life. United Through Sport was there to hear what she had to say.

Scott, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008 and a master’s degree in 2009, both in sport management, from East Sroudsburg University, USA, had been coaching field hockey at a private college when she decided she needed to look for new horizons.“I wanted to go abroad, I wanted to make an impact and I wanted to give back to those who need it,” she said.

Scott, a four-year field hockey player at ESU, signed on to spend 12 weeks in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, starting in January 2014. “I went over for three months and I actually ended up staying for two years,” Scott said. At the end of her three-month volunteer stint, she was offered a job as mass participation program manager in South Africa. United Through Sport volunteers coach children in soccer (football), tennis, field hockey, rugby, cricket and netball. Scott coached the kids in field hockey and tennis and tutored them in English and Math.

The organization in South Africa works with thousands of children each year and it changes schools every six months in order to reach more kids. “We are coaching sports with them and also practicing life skills,” Scott said. That included lessons about HIV prevention and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as soft skills, such as leadership, communication, teamwork and decision-making. She was moved by the gratitude of the students, as well as the kinship she found in each village and town. It was the first time Scott had been abroad and the experience was eye opening.

“Africa is a magical place,” Scott said. “They have such a sense of community over there, such love, they’re family people. Everybody knows each other”. She worked with children who came from extreme poverty who really wanted to be in school. “The kids appreciate what you’re doing so much,” she said. The schools typically don’t offer physical education so the programs provided time for the children to run around and play sports.

She recalled one student, Lindiwe, who played netball and eventually lived with United Through Sport volunteers because her home life at her sister’s place wasn’t conducive to studying. “The volunteers were helping her out with her academics in the evening,” Scott said. Lindiwe did so well she went on to a university, where she is in her second year with plans to become a lawyer. That’s especially impressive since she comes from a community where only 3 percent of the population goes to college. “It was life changing for her to be a part of the program,” Scott said.

The 29-year-old Scott came back to the U.S. a few weeks ago and is currently living in Milton, Delware and working to start an American branch of United Through Sport. She is fundraising and recruiting volunteers for coaching children abroad and hoping to organize an internship program for college students to coach in local disadvantaged communities. “I want to open United Through Sport USA to give other people opportunities to have these experiences,” she said. Volunteers in South Africa were based in Port Elizabeth, a city by the Indian Ocean, and worked with children Monday through Friday. On weekends, the volunteers could take excursions such as safaris, bungee jumping and diving in shark cages. Scott made close friends among the volunteers who came from countries that included Great Britain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Canada and Germany.

Scott visited ESU with her mentor, Paula Parker, Ed.D., associate professor and chair of the ESU sport management department, with whom Scott has kept in touch and looked to for guidance on career choices. Dr. Parker says Scott has become a great ambassador for United Through Sport.

“Domineque’s engaging personality and passion for education through sport make her an ideal advocate for United Through Sport,” Parker said. “She shares her volunteer experiences in South Africa in such a way that everyone she comes into contact with will want to explore opportunities to volunteer.”

If you would like to take part in an international volunteer sports coaching placement abroad, great for internships, meaningful holidays or a gap year and career break, then check out our travel website by clicking here.

Graduates thank United Through Sport for transforming their lives

This year see’s more of our young people finishing off their top level schooling in South Africa, something that United Through Sport has facilitated for them over the years. One particular man, Zolisa Faba, decided to get in touch this week and tell us a few things about the opportunity he was given:

“This week was my official last week at Jeppe as a school boy, now I am old.

It has been a wonderful five years and if I could, I would do it all over again. I have never really taken a moment to just thank you for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be chosen to attend an amazing school like Jeppe. I understand very well that if it was not for your kind heart, I would not have got the privilege to attend Jeppe.

I thank you for creating a smooth path for me to get out of poverty. When I go home to my grandmother, she always says that she wishes to thank you again because your kindness is incredible. Through you, I got the opportunity to travel to two continents. I often ask God to help me not forget where I came from no matter how good or bad things turn out for me in life. I want to make you really proud one day and also be able to give back to United Through Sport in the way you have given me so much.”

Zolisa’s history and link with United Through Sport
Zolisa Faba; an 18 year old boy who came from our Mass Participation Programme. Zolisa progressed into our Senior School of Excellence Program with a scholarship to Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg in 2011. He is now in his fifth and final year at Jeppe, and what a change we have seen in him!

For any young boy, growing up without a father always has difficult implications, but for Zolisa the situation worsened when his mother fell terminally ill four years ago. His mother had to be moved to a specialist hospital in Cape Town for the demanding care she needed. It felt as if his, and his brother’s world was falling apart and he had no option but to leave home.

Living with their Great Aunt, and seven other people in a small house, things were not quite the same for these two boys. The whole household was dependent upon the pension of their great Aunt (R880 per month / £45) as it is the sole source of income for the household.

Zolisa felt he and his brother were a burden to his Aunt, not surprising when her pension equated to less than R5 (25p) per person per day.

As a result there were many periods when Zolisa was only eating a meal once every three days.

When the opportunity came along to send one of our talented sports men to one of the top schools in the country, it was not difficult for us to choose Zolisa – not because of his circumstances but in spite of them. He was one of our most dedicated learners, his enthusiasm and determination within our program stood out. He was dedicated and committed, regardless of the family situation back home, and clearly wanted more from his life.

Zolisa now eats regular meals, has grown hugely both physically and mentally and after almost years at his new school, stands out as a fine, well mannered young man. Most importantly he is receiving a top level education which will allow him to progress onto almost any career path he chooses and ultimately completely change his own future and that of his family. Zolisa has been accepted at the University of Johannesburg to study Law, next year.

Zolisa is a great example of the opportunities we strive to create for our children. We are so proud of how far Zolisa has come and so excited about where he is going!

If you would like to support the work we do to provide more opportunities for young people like Zolisa then check out our page ‘How You Can Help‘.

For more information on our work in South Africa click here.

Our work reaches 1600 extra people in the community

In partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM), United Through Sport (UTS) implemented a series of community-based projects in the period of June-July 2015 to increase physical activity in the communities of Nelson Mandela Bay. These events were to encourage the residents of the Bay to lead a healthier lifestyle as well as to bring activities to the idle youth during the long school break. Over the winter school holiday, UTS conducted these projects in the form of three Community Walks and two Holiday Programmes in and around the Bay, where a total of 1589 participants took part in the various events.

This physical activity plan formed part of the Designed to Move campaign which highlights the importance of being physically active. As there are a lot of risks, conditions and diseases associated with physical inactivity, such as depression, heart disease and strokes, it was important to raise awareness around this. It is also important to inform the young children that they could pro long and improve the quality of their lives and brain power by taking part in physical activities.

The Community Walks were 2km routes in the townships and catered for everyone in the community; the young and the old. Each walk started off with a brief aerobics warm up session, especially considering how cold it was in the early mornings.  At the end of the walks and after the cooling down exercises, there were challenges and competitions done to showcase ways of doing fun and free physical activities. These included a skipping rope and hoola-hoop challenges and dance competitions. Prizes were awarded to the challenge participants and competition winners, as well as our oldest and youngest walkers.

All the communities warmly appreciated having such events in their township, as they rarely have the chance to participate in these kinds of opportunities in their remote area. The youngest participants were still learning how to walk and the eldest walkers were in their 70s.

The different elements incorporated in the Holiday Programmes were life-skills, role plays, sport, general knowledge quizzes, indigenous games as well as arts & crafts. UTS also included some of their own beneficiaries from the Senior School of Excellence to work as volunteers at the holiday camps. The older and more mature beneficiaries assisted as peer leaders to the participants. At the end of the camps, these youngsters felt really good about being involved in such an initiative, and being able to be of service to other children. It was a good opportunity to develop their leadership skills and to take responsibility for developing younger children from their communities.

The older children participated in life-skills which focused on HIV and AIDS awareness. The different fun and interactive games in these sessions taught the children about the importance of decisions they make and the consequences which follow, the myths and truths on identifying someone who is HIV positive, how to minimize the risks of being infected and how HIV is spread. The younger children spent a lot of time in the arts & crafts sessions, where they did face painting, paper masks, storytelling and such age appropriate activities.

On the sport aspects, the girls and boys took part in netball and soccer where they were coached by the UTS international volunteers. On the last day of the holiday programme, they played against each other, as well as an indigenous games tournament.

The winter holiday programme was a great success in enabling us to take key aspects of our ongoing programmes to communities that wouldn’t otherwise benefit. Being a development through sport organization; it is great to be working in partnership with the municipality to encourage healthier lifestyles in our communities.

“It feels great that I can give back to other children and pay forward what United Through Sport has done for me in my life.” Lorenda , UTS Beneficiary, 17 years old

“We never really think about the dangers of living an inactive life, yet there is so much we can do every day to avoid many diseases; we just need to move a little more every day.” Sonwabo Jacobs, Colchester Community Member, 45 years old.

10 Years of Progress

We are celebrating a decade of work in South Africa. Our first operation began ten years ago in Port Elizabeth. In that time we have established a great network of schools in which to use sport as a tool for development. We have permanently changed lives for the better in the impoverished areas in which we work.

Through our Mass Participation Programme (MPP) we have used sport as way to effectively tackle critical issues such as HIV and Aids, a major threat to kids growing up in townships. The MPP has also shown us which children show the correct attitude and level of promise in order to attend our Junior and Senior Schools of Excellence, where we have had great success. So much so, that our first year of grade 12’s all graduated to University.

With a solid infrastructure and a dedicated team in charge of operations, we aren’t letting up any time soon. Congratulations to all involved.

Watch our video and hear from Nick Mould, one of the United Through Sport founders, explain more.

Our Coaches Save the Day in St Lucia

Our Volunteer coaches gave up their weekend to aid an inter-church tournament on their local playing field and ended up competing and eventually winning it!

When the inaugural St. Lucia inter-church 7 a-side tournament hit a few major snags, minutes before its scheduled start, the United Through Sport house was their first point of call. Our team of football coaches came down on a moments notice; marking pitches, organising schedules, providing equipment, filling in as match officials and even creating a team with the rest of the UTS coaches.

Competing against teams from Anse la Raye, Gros Islet and Castries, The United Through Sport Team comprising of volunteer coaches Joël Martin, Joe Page, Patrick Kasaga, Josh Lawrence, Simon Watters, Adam Butler and Alex Hardy were able to win the tournament on behalf of one the Castries churches that were unable to make the event.