This past week I worked at WhizzKids United. It was in many ways, a sense of déjà vu. You see, WhizzKids United was the first program that I was partnered with when I started at Coaches Across Continents in 2010. Since then, I have worked for CAC in a dozen different African countries. But it was great to get back to WhizzKids United and see familiar faces like Siphelele, Marcus, Stefan and Tom and to see the progress that has been made since my last visit.
When last I wrote about WKU, I mentioned the newly opened Edendale Health Academy and the extremely high HIV rate in KwaZulu Natal. However WKU has made tremendous strides with their fully functioning, adoslescent-targeting HIV counseling and testing center, actively counseling and treating over 450 patients. The center doubles as a football training center, with a modest asphalt pitch (that will soon become a brand new FIFA Football for Hope Center) with life skills trainers actively engaging the youth in games that teach about healthy HIV behavior and encouraging youths in Edendale to utilize the health center to their full advantage.
This past week, Coaches Across Continents again ran a training session for the life skills trainers, enabling them to improve their own coaching abilities as well as provide a football for social development curriculum. This expanded curriculum will serve WKU well when their new FIFA FFH center comes online in the next calendar year.
Overall, the WKU Health Academy is making great strides towards being a model for the rest of the country and African continent to follow. They will soon have a state of the art training ground, offices, changing rooms, and educational meeting rooms, alongside their already operational Health Academy. This serves as a hub for the youth of the community to hang-out and to promote healthy decisions and lifestyles in order to combat the staggering statistics that are pitted against them. If the past three years have been any indication I believe that WKU and Edendale will continue to show KZN, South Africa, and the world how to combat this epidemic.