Hartland and Clovelly AFC support United Through Sport

The local run football club Hartland and Clovelly AFC have provided a donation of £1220 for United Through Sport in memory of their former member, Martin Heard, who tragically died in 2014.

Hartland and Clovelly AFC runs 3 teams and have been an intrinsic part of local village life for many generations. Every other year the football club organise a fundraising day in memory of their dear friend, Marty. This year they have decided to donate a share of the proceeds to United Through Sport to reflect the importance they believe sport and community were to him. The objective of the event was not just about raising money, but to bring the local community together and make a positive impact from such a terrible tragedy. 

The event took place on a farm in Hartland and was a great success. It started of with an afternoon of family fun with a sport emphasis. This included a large amount of activities, such as football and boxing coaching, badminton and rope swings. Moreover, they organised a ticketed event in the evening “Party for Marty” which consisted of a live band, bar and hog roast.

We would like to thank Hartland and Clovelly AFC and their team of helpers and supporters for their contribution, it will be vital across our global projects.

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.

Belgium Physio Spends Year Raising Money for UTS South Africa

Ruben Cools, a physiotherapist from Belgium, is currently raising funds for United Through Sport, while simultaneously spreading awareness on global, all-inclusive health. His vision stems from a passion of inspiring others to take control of their own health and happiness. He stresses the importance of being active and making thoughtful, conscious decisions, both when it comes to your own health and when it comes to humankind. This is what drew him to UTS:

“The idea of United Through Sport is fantastic. It’s not just giving food or building a house.” Ruben goes on to explain how the organisation can provide opportunities in areas that may be lacking them, and if nothing else, an escape where kids can be healthy, have fun with their friends, and create dreams for their futures.

Ruben has been raising money and spreading his message by means of various exercise classes since December. He has already led a High Intensity Workout and Yoga session, with a variety of others to come including Salsa Dancing and Aquagym. It is clear that he is dedicated to offering something for everyone, pushing the idea that anyone can be healthy.

The fundraising period will culminate with the 2019 Ironman Race which will be held in Nice, France on June 30. Athletes, including Cools, will swim in the Mediterranean, bike through the Alps, and run along Nice’s historic coastline. Cools has raised 666 Euros so far and his goal is to raise 10,000 Euro by the competition. This is with the hopes of help from corporate sponsorship.

To follow his progress and support his endeavours on his total giving page: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/ironmannice

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.

United Through Sport Argentina | An Overseas Perspective

6 months ago I left my home country of England and travelled by cargo boat across the Atlantic to start a new life in Buenos Aires. Having worked in the city of London, I had seen first hand the effects of corporate manipulation and greed, and in all honesty it had turned me off the idea of pursuing a career in such an industry. It was time for a change, and as my opening sentence suggests, a radical one at that.

The only commitment I had on leaving was a 3 month volunteering program for a charity called United Through Sport. I would be working in a program that aimed to teach and help children develop skills in sport, both in schools and out. As a great sport lover, and with a passion for English rugby union as bright as any others, I thought such a program would be the perfect start.

Unfortunately on entering the country, my grasp of the Spanish language started and ended with the ability to poorly pronounce the words hola and gracias. This coupled with my first encounter with the hostels day cleaner Chuni (whose grasp of the English language only equaled that of my Spanish) made me realise this was going to be an experience unlike any I had had before.

The Organisation

It became clear, even just through our volunteering induction, that the name United Through Sport simply does not do justice to the full breadth and scope of the charities reach. Whilst its founding principle was that through its use, sport could tackle underlying problems and unite communities through better social cohesion, it appears this principle is now only one of many. With programs now running in education, healthcare, construction and childcare it has taken on a much larger role, and is seemingly becoming more a community builder rather than just a supporter.

What was explained to us, and what became apparent to me is that the beauty of a volunteering based charity is that it acts as a cultural exchange. It is not only that the volunteers are able to help the lives of children and adults through using their experience, but also the reverse. As a volunteer you get to learn and eventually understand the different cultural realities and nuances that are often so alien to our own. Perhaps the most obvious of these being the concept of Argentinian time which can be frustrating when you first arrive.

Sports Education

The sports education program I was part of had me working in a school alongside a physical education teacher, in order to help with classes and contribute any ideas I thought might benefit the students.  I was based at a school called Buen Consejo, where I taught and got to know 6 classes of around 20 students ranging from the age of 6 to 14 years. From designing your own games to focusing on a specific skill based drills, there really is great scope to use the knowledge you have and share it with the children

The vast majority of the children are from the shanty Villa 21 -24. This shanty is one of 6 in Buenos Aires and is the home to around 60,000 people. Needless to say living conditions and life prospects for those within the shanty are considerably diminished compared to the lives of the volunteers who come through the program. Things we take for granted often don’t exist there, and the initial shock you experience when you enter is one you can only experience first hand. More on this later.

At school the most notable thing that you first experience is how affectionate the children are. You are inundated with hugs and smiles and straight away are taught their unique way of greeting. Hola profe (meaning hello professor), and a small hand-clap quickly followed by a quick fist bump indicate that you are not only welcome but they are happy to see you. I found this act fairly overwhelming as not only had they straight away welcomed me to their group, but through such a small gesture they had made me feel part of it.

At break times you can sit and talk to the children, making the learning curve for someone with no Spanish very steep even if very difficult. Children here speak extremely fast and this along with this the fact that they are often not only from Argentina, but also Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile, means that understanding different accents also becomes part of the problem!

Often during break a child would finish with their juice box and throw it on the floor indicating the start of a quick pick up football game for those in the surrounding area. With so many children in the playground it meant that often you could see 20 juice boxes being hurled around followed eagerly by different groups of boys, all presumably imagining they were the next Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona.

I spent three months helping to teach football, basketball, handball, volleyball, and rugby. I was able to use and teach some of the skills I had been taught both at school and university, and it was an absolute pleasure to do so. I was also able to give the teacher a couple of useful drills and games he could use in the future. As a result of volunteering for an extended period of time I was able to form a strong friendship with said teacher. This was an added bonus, which certainly enhanced the whole experience.

As with all volunteering programs it really is what you put in you get out. I had some truly special relationships with the children because of both parties caring and wanting to take an interest. Whether it was teaching a few new English words at break times, or how to spin a rugby ball during class, the effects of a volunteering presence was certainly evident. The enthusiasm you show is automatically seen in the reaction of those you show it towards. There seems to be a certain intangible effect that can be quite profound even through such small gestures. Both child and volunteer can walk away greatly satisfied from the encounter they had just shared.

Comedor Evita

Having finished my initial program I was offered the opportunity to stay on with the charity as a coordinator.  In brief this role essentially means helping new volunteers settle into their programs and being on hand to help them as and when is necessary.

I now help coordinate a childcare program, which has been built inside a soup kitchen in the heart Villa 21 -24. Comedor Evita feeds up to 300 families everyday and is run and maintained by dedicated local staff who realise the fundamental need for such a facility. Unlike the extensive (even if criticized) social welfare program found in the UK, Argentina offers very little in comparison.

Those in the shanty find themselves at an automatic disadvantage. Just by the mere fact of where they live they are often unemployable outside of their area code and have less access to good quality education and ultimately life.  It is the work of places like Comedor Evita that allow many of those living in the shanty at least a few of our most basic human needs.

The childcare program is a relatively new initiative that gives children a safe and positive environment in which to learn and interact with each other. It allows parents who need to go to work a place to leave their children and also gives them the peace of mind that their child will be safe.  During their time at the soup kitchen the children will also be fed, in some cases this being the only meal they receive that day.

Much like the school the children are always happy to meet new volunteers. Some of these children are from abusive homes, some are neglected due to their parents being reliant on either drugs or alcohol, and some are just very poor with no other place to go.  Regardless, there is a great community feel between everyone involved, and gratitude shown towards all those who help however small. For example the Argentine practice of Mate drinking is often shared, which is one example of the cultural exchange mentioned earlier.

During my time at Comedor I have made strong relationships with both the children and the staff. Nelly who runs the soup kitchen is a true inspiration. Not only does she coordinate the arduous task of feeding 300 families a day, she also goes out of her way to help both the volunteers and anyone else who requests it. She does so with a smile on her face and an open heart, and as a result she is well known and well loved within the community, and rightly so.

I learn Spanish with the children through writing stories with them, or pointing at things of interest and asking what it means. My favourite pastime is standing at the fence, looking out at the traffic with a couple of them and carrying out said practice.  You can’t get away with anything with children, who are so quick to pick up on mistakes however small. Due to my gringo accent and untrained ear, they either innocently laugh at you, or show their disappointment that you have simply not grasped at all what they are saying with an affectionate slap to the face. They have a unique way to make you feel very foolish when for example using the preterit tense when the imperfect was preferable. However it is all done with smiles and laughter and in all honesty I am very grateful for their help.

Comedor is an expanding project with great potential. Since I have worked there I have seen the volunteers renovate multiple rooms, including the childcare area. The rundown fence outside has been given a new lick of paint making a considerable difference to its outside appearance, and certainly making it more welcoming.

The concreted area outside has been dug up and re laid, so what once was an uneven and fairly dangerous structure is now a flat new surface for the children to play. Soon a new higher fence will be installed to prevent balls flying over into traffic meaning more outside sports and less headaches for volunteers. There are also plans for further expansion upstairs, to make a room for classes and other activities to be held for those who wish to attend.

Ultimately the goal of United Through Sport is to use the soup kitchen as a foundation to create a community center that not only gives a place for people to come but also opportunities they otherwise would not have had. Although it is in its infancy, it is certainly on the right track and it really is excellent to see the progress that is being made.

Pause for thought

Since arriving in Buenos Aires the British pound has almost doubled in strength against the Argentine peso. The effects of such a crumbling economy are startling when you compare the difference it makes to a volunteer and a resident of Villa 21 -24.

While as volunteers we can make light and chatter about the fact that we can now enjoy the finest cut of bife de lomo coupled with a bottle of red wine from Mendoza for the equivalent of 15 US dollars. Such musings are not even contemplated by those in the shanty. The effects of a failing economy are seen first and foremost in the poorest areas and it is no wonder that even long term solutions to the structural poverty that persists are hard to picture.

The contrast is so vast between those who have and those who don’t have, that I would postulate that it would be impossible for even the most cynical and most closed minded of westerners who visit, not to have their eyes opened to what lies on the other side of the fence. For me it has been the most humbling experience of my life, and as selfish as it may be, I take great pride that I am now part of a work in progress solution, that aims to make the lives of those involved at least a little better.

I must admit that I was and have been a skeptic when it comes to charities, especially having seen first hand some of the corruption that happens within large organisations. However through the experiences I have had and the people I have worked for this opinion has certainly changed. There is a great passion from the team here to make a difference and I am truly glad to be a part of it.

Edward Watson

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/

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)

 

United Through Sport Caribbean Provide St. Lucia Rugby Team Uniform

United Through Sport Caribbean were able to provide 25 full uniforms for the St. Lucia National Men team and 15 for the Ladies side. The kits were bought as part as UTS Caribbean’s objective to raise the standard and profile of the St. Lucia’s National Rugby Teams.

In-country director Joël Martin:

We are delighted to be able to provide both teams with pro-playing kits and hope it is a design the players will be proud to wear. We wanted to give the young players within our programme something to aspire towards; the greater the National Team is, the greater the motivation to get there.

Uniforms will be worn for all National fixtures including oncoming Rugby America North tournaments.

The design of the kit pays tribute to the St. Lucian Flag with it’s cyan to epitomise the sky, and surrounding Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Yellow to symbolise the sunshine and prosperity, and triangles representing the island’s iconic Gros and Petit pitons. The background is made up of Carib tribal patterns as an homage to the original settlers to the island. The emblem of the SLRFU contains the Zandoli lizard which is endemic to the region and traditionally a sign of ‘good spirits’.

St. Lucia shirts and shorts are available to buy in the UK with proceeds going to back into UTS grassroots projects in St. Lucia, follow link to order yours: https://www.scimitarclubs.com/product-category/st-lucia-rugby

UTS Run Free Summer Camps For Over 80 Children In St. Lucia

United Through Sport ran simultaneous netball and multi sports camps over the school holidays this summer providing childcare and sporting expertise for underprivileged families in St. Lucia.

Our girls netball camp was run on the Vigie sports complex with girls from Egrets, Bocage, Soufriere and St. Lucia U14s netball clubs, who had been attending our after school projects in the year. The girls were treated to a range of games, exercises and drills from our UK volunteer coaches and programme coordinator Sarah Mosley.  

The La Clery summer camp was a chance for children to sample a range of different sports including; Football, Basketball, Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Athletics and Swimming. Attended by boys and girls from the La Clery community, Pioneers FC and our ongoing after school projects in Vide Boutielle, Marchand and Corinth, children were encouraged to find the sports they most enjoyed, and linked to our partner clubs to encourage adherence to the game.

The main focus of our camps were fun and inclusivity; Camps ran 4 days a week, food, transport, swimming lessons and one-on-one supervision was provided for those that needed it and our large volunteer numbers meant ability levels and age groups could be split during session. Meaning children from all backgrounds social backgrounds, age, ability and health got the opportunity to attend. United Through Sport was also able to donate playing shirts, boots and other sports equipment for camp attendees.

Highlights of the summer included; Fortnightly beach days and swimming lessons at Vigie beach, fun day on Splash island with Daren Sammy and the St. Lucia Stars cricket team, winners dinner at Coco Palms Hotel and our National youth Netball tournament.