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Internship Testimonial: Volunteering In South Africa Was The Best Decision I Ever Made!

Exactly one year ago I packed my bags, said goodbye to family & friends and left home. I had absolutely no clue what the next six months would bring, but it turned out to be the best time of my life. 

Living abroad, getting to know yourself, learning about new cultures, meeting the absolute best people ever, is something I would recommend to everyone. I don’t regret anything… Okay maybe one thing, and that is to not fully enjoy every moment – even the little things. Because before you know it, you are on the plane back home and you regret just taking some moments in and taking it easy. But there is such little time, so you want to do everything, be everywhere and see everything.

Everyone I met during my time in South Africa holds a special place in my heart and I appreciate every single moment. From going out to Barneys and White Tiger, to ordering pizzas and eating it in the Wi-Fi room while watching TV, to safaris, and of course, coaching the amazing children. 

Because that is what they are: amazing. The children I have met in South Africa who live in the disadvantaged areas of Port Elizabeth are my little friends, and I miss them every single day. They brought something into my life that is hard to describe. It is so special, and I did not thank them enough, because I did not know how to. I loved coaching them, having fun, dancing, singing and really being a part of their lives for a while. Sometimes I wonder how they are doing. Are they okay? Are they safe? Are they following the big dreams they told me about? I hope they are. Because that is what they deserve. 

My time in South Africa was special and I would 10000000% do it all over again. Give me a plane ticket today and I would run to the airport. To people considering volunteering: definitely go and see South Africa if you have the chance. The country is beautiful and the people living there even more beautiful. I have met the best people ever, with the most incredible life stories. They are inspirational and I am happy to call them my friends and even my family! 

The wildlife is absolutely stunning. I could not get enough of safaris and am happy I did every single one. I saw so many beautiful things! The sunsets I saw were incredible, I cried almost every sunset because in those moments I felt so grateful. Just sitting there, on the beach and watching the sun go down with amazing people surrounding me in the best country I have ever visited. I am happy I can call Port Elizabeth my home, even though I left, it will always be a part of me.

All I have left to say is it had a real impact on me. It was the best decision ever and I miss it every single day. Port Elizabeth has a special place in my heart, and I hope to go back there some time to see my friends and the children again.

 

  • Carlotte Klop, Amsterdam

 

100% Matric Pass Rate for School of Excellence Beneficiaries

Of the ten UTS South Africa beneficiaries who wrote their National Senior Certificate in 2019 100% pass rate was achieved at their respective schools in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

 

Their schools have partnered with United Through Sport over a period of five years – investing in talented children from disadvantaged areas by providing them with top level education and sport coaching as part of United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme. 

 

75 pupils formed part of the Senior School of Excellence Programme in 2019. They received academic and other support at seven partner schools in Nelson Mandela Bay. These include Victoria Park, Alexander Road, Grey, Muir, Pearson, Andrew Rabie and Cillié High Schools.

“Since the establishment of the Senior School of Excellence Programme in 2010, we have achieved a 100% pass rate and we are once again very proud of the hard work and dedication shown by our beneficiaries. Our journey with them will not end here, since they now automatically form part of our YOUth 1st Network which supports youth members with job skills training, guidance and support in order to access higher education and/or meaningful employment,” Nick Mould UTS SA director.

 

Successful student; Carlyn Camineth only slept a few hours after finding out that she passed with a Bachelor’s Pass before collecting her results at Victoria Park High School on Wednesday morning and fellow Victoria Park student Onela Mkonto, said she was equally excited – particularly to further her studies. “I am more than ready – I can already imagine myself at campus. I love working with children and it is my dream to become a paediatrician,”.

 

United Through Sport’s Class of 2019 collectively achieved six Bachelor’s Passes, four Diploma Passes and four Distinctions. The Senior School of Excellence Class of 2019’s plans for the future are diverse – varying from furthering their tertiary studies in Social Work, Tourism to Business Studies. 

“We are excited to follow these ten young people’s studies and careers with interest, as they transform their lives even more through the power of sport. We look forward to continuing our work in 2020 and want to thank all our partner schools for making this positive change a reality,” said Mould.

South African Sport Award for United Through Sport

Years of dedication to sport for good work in Nelson Mandela Bay paid off for United Through Sport South Africa, who received a national accolade as the Recreation Body of the Year during the 14th annual South African Sport Awards.

Sharing a stage with South African rugby Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, who overcame many adversities because of the power of sport in his own life, made this award even more meaningful to United Through Sport Director, Nick Mould.  United Through Sport runs sport coaching and life skills sessions at Kolisi’s former primary school, Emsengeni Primary School in Zwide. Kolisi was offered a rugby scholarship to the prestigious Grey High School in Port Elizabeth when he was 12 years old. 

United Through Sport reaches over 12 500 children at close to 70 schools in Nelson Mandela Bay per year. “We try to cover as many of the Primary Schools in the disadvantaged communities across Nelson Mandela Bay as we can, so we actually work in many schools around the Zwide area, of which Emsengeni is one. We also have a good relationship with Eric Songwiqi who was Siya’s rugby coach at Emsengeni and later became Principal of the school. Even after he retired, Eric spent time coaching rugby in our programme. We also have some kids from Emsengeni as well as other schools who have gained scholarships at Grey and other top schools around the Bay, so there are actually a number of kids from our programmes following the same path as Siya,” said Mould. 

The South African Sport Awards is an initiative of the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, initiated in 2004 in partnership with South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The awards recognise the impact, results and sporting achievements of the South African sport and recreation sectors.

“This is definitely our first major award.  Generally, awards are not something we chase or focus on as we are more focused on just doing our work and trying to make a difference. However, it is nice to receive some recognition for what we have achieved, and I hope that winning this award will give us more exposure so that we can continue to expand the work that we do,” said Mould.

He thanked all United Through Sport’s supporters over the past 14 years – including corporate, foundations and individuals who have contributed to running the programmes.  

“There are too many to list, but they know who they are, and we would not exist without them.  I would also like to thank all the international volunteers of which there have been more than 2000 who have travelled to South Africa to give their time for free to support our programmes and have added a hugely valuable human resource over the years. Thank you to all the children, parents, teachers and the staff at United Through Sport for their team effort in achieving this award – we look forward to growing our impact even more in the years to come,” said Mould. 

UTS South Africa Football Players Visit Dulwich College

The lives of 14 South African football players have changed forever, after they jetted off on a plane to the United Kingdom.

On September 23, 2019 the Port Elizabeth boys went on their first international trip to the UK where they were hosted by Dulwich College in South London as part of week-and-a-half sporting and cultural exchange, made possible by United Through Sport and partners.

The boys visited the Arsenal Football Academy and went on a tour of the Emirates Stadium in London, as well as attended a Premium League football match between Crystal Palace FC and Norwich City.

However, the boys did not only sight-see during their time in the UK, they were also afforded the incredible opportunity to play football against top local professional academy teams and schools in London. 

In addition to playing a friendly match against the Arsenal Academy’s U/12 and U/13 teams, the boys also played against Crystal Palace Academy and their host school, Dulwich College.

“There were school and club scouts watching the boys, keen to offer an opportunity of a scholarship to players that stood out. Aside from the football taking place, the boys participated in an academic and cultural exchange programme designed to broaden their horizons, sensitise them to cultural similarities and differences, teach them about career opportunities and foster long lasting exchange relationships with their UK counterparts,”  

United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

The football team who travelled to the UK was made up of U/12 and U/13 boys from United Through Sport’s programmes based in the disadvantaged areas of Port Elizabeth, as well as boys playing club football at Calledonian Football Club in the city.

The boys were hosted by families from Dulwich College in South London and attended school and trained with their football players throughout the week. Dulwich College is an academically selective independent school for boys based in London, which recently celebrated its 400th anniversary.

Cameron Bellamy Swims From Barbados to St Lucia to Raise Funds for United Through Sport.

On Friday the 13th of September endurance athlete Cameron Bellamy will be attempting to swim from Barbados to St Lucia to raise funds his departing island Barbados, his arrival island St Lucia, as well as his home country, South Africa. Cameron has a large focus on making a difference in youths lives with education and development. The funds raised for United Through Sport will be going towards our learn to swim programme which has been running for two years. With this we hope to be able to expand and reach even more children in the island of St Lucia. 

This swim has never been attempted before, the swim is a massive 160km long and is expected to take 60 hours to complete.

Cameron will start his endeavour from St Peters Bay, north west coast of Barbados, and end in Vieux Fort in the south of St Lucia. Previously Cameron has swam around the entire island of Barbados he was the first person ever to complete this and it was the 4th longest open water swim ever. Cameron has also completed the The Oceans Seven which is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of seven open water channel swims. 

You can track his progress here: https://ubunye.web.app

We wish him all the best for the journey and any funds raised are greatly appreciated and will go along way with developing swimming skills for the children of St Lucia. 

  

Lindiwe Wins International Award to Get Girls Moving

Her passion to transform the lives of girls from Nelson Mandela Bay has resulted in a young South African woman winning an international competition, which is co-sponsored by Nike.

United Through Sport co-ordinator Lindiwe Cezula was announced as one of the winners of the ‘Gurls Talk Made to Play Fund Competition, Women Win’ in partnership with Nike.

The competition was open to young women under the age of 25 years, whose organisations are based in Ghana, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Turkey, United Kingdom, Italy, France and South Africa.

The purpose of the ‘Women Win’ competition is to support inspirational young women from across the world, to encourage the next generation of girls to get active.

Part of the winning package includes grant funding, activewear and a spot in Women Win’s Leadership Development Programme – which will include a trip to Paris, France, in June this year.

“It has always been my passion to create a safe space for us girls to just talk and share all our experiences on the expectations that society has of us. I would like to see the day where the girls own their bodies, the colour of their skin and most importantly, for them to know that they have the body, the mind and the courage; and that they are in charge of it all,” said Cezula.

She plans to utilise the Gurls Talk Made to Play Fund grant to develop a dance programme for United Through Sport’s girls’ empowerment programme, GirlsUnite. The purpose of the dance programme will be to get the girls moving through physical activity, while teaching critical life-skills lessons to boost their confidence, resilience and levels of self-actualisation.  

Cezula graduated with her BA degree, majoring in Political Science and Public Administration, from Nelson Mandela University in April this year.

In primary school her netball talents were spotted by United Through Sport Director Nick Mould on a dusty sport field in Zwide. Cezula attended Pearson High School from 2011 – 2014 as part of United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence, and in her Matric year received a special award for Perseverance.

“We are extremely proud of Lindiwe. She came into our programme when she was just 11 years old, and to see her grasp the opportunities that have come her way and then complete the circle by giving back to the next generation is hugely inspirational.  She encompasses the vision of United Through Sport and is a true example of the potential that exists within the youth of our society if they are just given the right support,” said Mould.

Lindiwe is employed as the Youth1st Network Co-ordinator on a full-time basis at United Through Sport in Port Elizabeth and plans to pursue further studies by doing an Honours degree in Public Administration.

Seven United Through Sport SA Youth Members to Graduate

Seven members of the organisation’s YOUth 1st Network are entering the world of work after completing their tertiary qualifications in 2018 in Nelson Mandela Bay. Four of the graduates attended top South African high schools (Pearson High School in Port Elizabeth and Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg) through scholarships made possible by United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence.

United Through Sport Director Nick Mould said the beneficiaries have reached the top of the organisation’s pyramid model – consisting of four different programmes feeding into each other and each level increasing in its depth of the impact per beneficiary, starting at primary school.

“The graduates have come full circle from being identified on the sports field in our Mass Participation Programme, to completing their secondary schooling at top schools in the country, and finally stepping out of the poverty cycle by achieving their degrees. They are now able to earn a living and make a meaningful contribution to the economy and the communities where they live,” said Mould.

Lindiwe Cezula will graduate with her BA degree, majoring in Political Science and Public Administration, from Nelson Mandela University this year. Lindiwe, whose netball talent was personally recognised by Mould who secured a bursary for her to attend Pearson High School from 2011 – 2014, is the first person to graduate in her family.

“It’s only now that I am graduating, that I realise how far I have come. It wasn’t always easy, but I stayed positive and never gave up. I knew from the beginning that I just had to work harder than the other children at my high school. I never wanted to go back to wearing my old school’s uniform and that motivated me to persevere,” said Lindiwe.

This year she will be working as the YOUth 1st Network Co-ordinator on a full-time basis at United Through Sport’s office in Newton Park, Nelson Mandela Bay, and plans to also pursue further studies by doing an Honours degree in Public Administration. “My long-term future plan is to one day sponsor a child for all his or her years of studies, in the same way that I was assisted. For now, I think I am going to enjoy my job as co-ordinator at United Through Sport because I will be helping our youth with bursaries and encouraging them to work hard and persevere with their studies,” said Lindiwe.

Another United Through Sport beneficiary, Sibulele Mangaliso, will be graduating with his BSc. Hons (Construction Management) from Nelson Mandela University in 2019.

Like Lindiwe, he was part of United Through Sport for 10 years, firstly as a Senior School of Excellence beneficiary who was recognised for his rugby talent and placed at Pearson High School, and later as a YOUth 1st Network member. He will continue his studies this year by tackling his Master of Science Degree in Construction Management.

“I am here today because of United Through Sport. I was able to go to a top school like Pearson, which opened many doors for me. I grew as an individual and am grateful for the opportunity I got,” said Sibulele.

Sibulele is passionate about development work and was the co-ordinator of the youth chapter of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Port Elizabeth. He also developed a proposal for a resource centre in Missionvale, which he hopes will one day help children with afterschool homework and leadership mentoring.

“We have to build ladders and pay it forward. I was blessed with this opportunity and I want to give back to others in the community around the Missionvale Campus,” Sibulele, originally from Motherwell, said.

Sibulele and Lindiwe, along with the other graduates, all worked in the YOUth 1st Network during their tertiary studies by mentoring and giving homework support to high school learners from the Senior School of Excellence Programme.

Other graduates from the YOUth 1st Network include Zolisa Faba, who completed a B. Com Degree in Marketing and Business Management; Ayabulele Veliso, who completed a Tourism Diploma; Lindani Majeke, who completed a HR Management Diploma; Thandile Dandala, who completed a Journalism & Media Studies Diploma, and Unathi Matoti, who completed a degree in Quantity Surveying.

Senior School of Excellence Beneficiary is Top Achiever in Nelson Mandela Bay

Chadleigh Ownhouse, 17, who has been a beneficiary of United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme for the past five years, was announced on Friday, January 4 as the Top Matric Learner in Nelson Mandela Bay, with distinctions in seven subjects – including English (86%), Afrikaans (95%), Maths (88%), Life Orientation (95%), History (94%), Life Sciences (95%), and Physical Sciences (93%).

An excited Chadleigh had a total of seven bursaries to choose from, following the announcement of his final year of high school’s matric results. Spoilt for choice, Chadleigh decided on studying Medicine at the University of Cape Town in 2019.

“I am very happy to not worry about my finances for the year anymore. I am actually ready for university now, and can’t wait to start,” said Chadleigh, who was so used to waking up early to study that he has kept up his routine in the school holidays.

Chadleigh crowned his high school career in 2018 with the achievement of being announced Alexander Road High School’s Dux learner at the school’s awards ceremony. In 2018 he was a co-winner in the Senior Maths Relay League in 2018, and his team participated in the Nelson Mandela University’s Rocket-building Competition where they won first prize.

Chadleigh is one of ten beneficiaries from United Through Sport’s Senior School of Excellence Programme who have all achieved their 2018 National Senior Certificates. Partner schools in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, where the beneficiaries matriculated include Alexander Road High School (2 learners), Pearson High School (3 learners), and Victoria Park High School (5 learners).

The United Through Sport Senior School of Excellence (SSE) Programme, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, is focussed on providing talented and determined children with a top-level academic education for a full five years – with the final aim of further supporting them through tertiary studies.

Chadleigh’s talents were noticed by United Through Sport Director Nick Mould when he was still in primary school at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp. Mould said all the SSE graduates are expected to pursue tertiary studies, many being the first in their families to do so.  

“Compared to the national average, we are very pleased with our 100% pass rate and would like to wish all our beneficiaries well with their future endeavours. We are exceptionally proud of Chadleigh who is testament that hard work and dedication can open many doors for you,” said Mould.

Chadleigh is the second United Through Sport beneficiary who has gone through the Senior School of Excellence programme, to study Medicine. Bronwyn White, who achieved her final year 2017 National Senior Certificate with four distinctions, is studying Medicine at Free State University.

United Through Sport Builds Second Sport Court in South Africa

Leaving a legacy by building a place where children can continue to play sport for years to come, was celebrated recently by United Through Sport South Africa.

The United Through Sport Multi-Sport Court is an initiative of UTS South Africa supported by The Swartkops Terminal PTY (Ltd). Having eagerly watched the building process over the last few months; Children from Isaac Booi Primary School and the surrounding community will now have their first opportunity to play netball, basketball and tennis on the facility. 

Isaac Booi is an anchor school of United Through Sport’s Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. The programme nurtures participants with ability and determination to give them access to extra academic education, sports coaching and personal development at after-school classes.

“Making a sustainable difference in the communities where United Through Sport works, is a core priority and we believe this Multi-Sport Court will continue to offer children a safe place to play sport – for years to come as a legacy project. The court not only benefits our programmes we run at the school, but it is also there for the enjoyment and benefit of all the learners at the school as well as the local community,” said United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

To continue to develop the Junior School of Excellence children to the highest level and give them an opportunity to rise above their challenges, they need to have access to quality facilities such as the Isaac Booi Court to enable them to compete with their counterparts.

“I would like to thank United Through Sport for their initiative in child development. Their team does an amazing job. I am very proud of The Swartkops Terminal for its involvement in this project, that benefits children on a personal level which is carried through to adulthood. The fact that this project will develop children for years to come make it so much more rewarding,” said The Swartkops Terminal PTY (Ltd) Terminal Manager Colin Wilken.

Isaac Booi Principal Mr Ludwe Memese said the entire school looked forward to the opening of the court. “We are the first, if not the only school with such a facility in the township. This would help to market the school to the neighbouring schools. It will enable the learners not only to be keen in partaking in the sports they are familiar with, but also learn to play tennis which is a rare sporting code in our communities,” Memese said.

A parallel JSE Programme is run at Astra Primary School, where a Multi-Purpose AstroTurf, used for hockey and soccer training, was also built by United Through Sport– with the help of various funders. The Multi-Purpose Astro Turf court was launched in 2016.

United Through Sport is currently fundraising for a third Multi-Purpose Court for training activities. Read more about our latest project here: https://www.givengain.com/cause/3881/campaigns/18276/

United Through Sport South Africa Launches Girls’ Empowerment Programme

UNITED Through Sport recently launched a brand-new programme, GirlsUnite, at Astra Primary School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to empower young girls from the community.

The focus of GirlsUnite is to help girls cope with some of the challenges they face through structured Self-defence, Literacy and Counselling sessions. The girls’ empowerment programme is for girls aged 10 to 13 years old, from Bethelsdorp and surrounding areas.

“While we are piloting the programme at Astra Primary School, we hope to extend the programme in the years to come, as this has been identified as an important need in the areas where we work,” said United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.

United Through Sport currently runs a Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme for primary school children to receive extra academic support, further sports development and mentoring. The JSE programme is based at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp and Isaac Booi Primary School in Zwide.

United Through Sport’s JSE Programme offers an environment of safety and positivity and a beacon of hope for many young children growing up in the surrounding community. As an added investment into the girls from the school and surrounding community, United Through Sport launched the girls’ empowerment programme GirlsUnite.

Because of their socio-economic environment, many of the girls in the JSE programme have challenges preventing them from attending afternoon classes, and learning at school, including physiological (reproductive needs), safety at home and on the way to school, as well as personal needs related to self-esteem and self-actualisation.

The GirlsUnite Programme is a one-year project, made possible by EMpower’s Bright Promise Awards, from the Estee Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation. Nelson Mandela University’s Psychology Clinic, which is based at the Missionvale campus, is partnering with United Through Sport by offering counselling services for the GirlsUnite Programme.

Counselling and group sessions have started at Astra Primary in the school’s library room as well as a converted container, which was donated by Siyaloba Training Academy. When the container is not used for counselling, it functions as a “girls-only” space used for extra reading sessions and informal mentoring sessions.  Other than girls from Astra Primary School, girls from the surrounding community will also make use of the girls-only space and drop-in counselling services.