The World Cup goes on.....
posted by Oli Walsh on 29 June 2010
WhizzKids engaged in a warm up activity
WhizzKids engaged in a warm up activity

Just because Bafana Bafana (and England) are out of the World Cup, does not mean that the enthusiasm and work at WhizzKids has finished!

Our five day holiday camps may have come to an end and there are no more games to go to, but we are still running structured programmes at our youth centre in Lamontville, and our Health Academy continues to go from strength to strength.

Last week we held an event with the KZN Department of Health to commemorate youth month, with over 300 kids attending and testing being run throughout the day. It was considered a great success by all who attended (not to mention key stakeholders) and is a great indicator of the community interest in the Academy for the future.

Today we took some of our office staff from Durban to Edendale to see the holiday programme in action; fun ice breaker activities were being run, our staff trained the local staff in new activities that we had learnt and developed during our holiday camps in Umlazi and Clarence, playing football and most importantly ensuring they felt a part of the WhizzKids United programme. Today there were just under 100 kids and think the numbers have been even better throughout the holidays, taking part in the WKU activities, being part of the feeding schemes and registering at the WKU Academy to access the HIV / AIDS related services.

If you are ever in Edendale, please let us know and it would be great to show you the programme in action, it is after all where WhizzKids began!
Visit from Lorrie Fair and her Kickabout team
posted by Oli Walsh on 24 June 2010
Lorrie designing another shirt for the kids!
Lorrie designing another shirt for the kids!
Today, WhizzKids United were lucky enough to have ex United States female soccer player Lorrie Fair and her Kickabout team visit one of their Castrol holiday camps in Umlazi.
Lorrie was a member of the United States national soccer team, playing in two Olympics and one World Cup, as well as representing Chelsea in the UK. With her Kickabout team, they have driven from London, through Africa and down to South Africa, with three main goals;

1) Celebrate African football at every stop we make;
2) Honor Africa’s humanitarian and sports heroes;
3) Support for the most courageous and innovative sport and development projects in Africa.
To check out more details on their incredible journey, please check out the Kickabout page

Lorrie and her team came to visit the programme and spent alot of time observing the kids, watching them take part in our Life Skills programme, talking and interacting with the kids, writing on their shirts, as well as explaining a little bit about their project. She also stressed the importance of education; even if your dream is to be a footballer, your legs will eventually give in, so you need to ensure you have your brain to fall back on!

We would like to thank Lorrie and her team for visiting, it was a real success with the kids, who are always happy to welcome (foreign) visitors. Some of the girls even got a chance to play alongside her, with Lorrie stepping in and playing in goal for one of the girl′s teams. We wish them safe travels and hope they enjoy the rest of their time in South Africa.
More than a week of the World Cup has passed...
posted by Oli Walsh on 21 June 2010
Kids at Castrol Holiday Camp
Kids at Castrol Holiday Camp
Sorry for the lack of updates over the past week, but it has been very busy here with World Cup fever in full swing!
The competition started in earnest on the 11th June, with the WhizzKids office heading to the Fan Fest down at the beach front to watch South Africa′s well deserved draw against Mexico.
The real work started on Monday with a load of great initiatives taking place. In Lamontville we are running match screenings and feeding schemes, as well as afternoon football and life skills sessions, which had a great turn out and continue to be well received by the kids. This was mirrored at our Health Academy in Edendale, with kids coming to watch the games, take part in Life Skills and football activities and get introduced to the services on offer at the Academy.
We ran two Castrol holiday camps, one in Umlazi and one in Greyville and although the turnout was slightly lower than expected, the kids (and the US volunteers from SIT), had a great time, with even a few tears when it came to say goodbye at the end of the week! For many at the camps, the highlight was getting the opportunity to watch a World Cup game, courtesy of Sony. We took graduates from the camps, as well as a selection of kids from Edendale, to watch Spain v Switzerland and Netherlands v Japan at the Moses Mabhida Stadium. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the kids to attend a World Cup game and a real challenge for all our chaperones to keep control of the kids who were so excited, running around in their multi colour bandanas, but it was all worthwhile!
Lastly on Friday, WKU managed a football pitch at a Fair Play for Africa event at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. We ran FIFA fair play six a side matches for youths throughout the day, with around 50 matches played, as well as two of our Life Skills sessions with over 40 kids. It was great to provide further introductions to our programme in the community and ensure the youths at the public viewing event had somewhere they could play football in a structured environment.
This week we have our second camp in Umlazi, as well as our final game with kids, Nigeria v Korea. We will continue to keep you updated, and will update our World Cup gallery on the website.
Holiday camps
posted by Siphelele Sibisi on 7 June 2010
Siphelele discussing the camps with programme director
Siphelele discussing the camps with programme director
The past three to four weeks in preparing for the holiday camps over the World Cup have been fun and at the same time hard work. The part I enjoyed the most was the meetings with different people from different offices, offices I never thought I would enter. I have never been given this kind of responsibility before so I had to push all the buttons I could. The best part was the three days training we had in preparation for the camps. This is when the planning of the camp was executed and this is the part where the spirit of the dead was awoken. We learnt lot of things and terminologies which we can use with the kids and among ourselves as coaches. The team which we work with at WhizzKids and also our partners on the camp, GRS, is so behind each other that we shall stop nowhere in planning for this event. The past three weeks have been historical and hope to execute all my duties as planned and with good heart
WhizzKids United is awesome!
posted by Katie Gannett on 3 June 2010
Me with some WhizzKids
Me with some WhizzKids
My name is Katie Gannett, and I am very excited to be visiting the WhizzKids United program for 2 weeks as part of a research project I will be completing for my studies at Brown University. I will be conducting my research at the FIFA Football for Hope Festival which will take place in Johannesburg during the final two weeks of the World Cup, bringing together 32 teams of youth from around the world to compete in a football tournament and participate in cultural activities. I initially decided to spend time with Africaid because the organization will be sending four participants to the festival.
In the last few days, we have been busy organizing tournaments for kids in Durban and Edendale. The tournaments have been particularly relevant to my research because they are played without referees according to FIFA Fair Play rules, which will also be used at the FIFA Football for Hope Festival. At the festival, I will be researching how the football games and cultural activities affect the attitudes of the participants towards countries and cultures that are different from their own—which could be greatly influenced by the lack of referees. Helping to oversee the WhizzKids tournaments has given me a chance to observe how the kids play without referees, and I have been quite impressed on the whole. During one game, I looked up and saw the ball go in the goal so I called out, “2 to 0 for the Netherlands!” But the Netherlands player who scored came over and said to me, “No, ma’am, my goal does not count because the goal was falling apart when I scored.” Another time, a girl came over to me and complained that the boys were not passing to her, but just at that moment her team scored and she ran right back out cheering and laughing.
I had the chance to talk with small groups of children after a few of the tournaments, and it was very interesting to hear their views on the WhizzKids program as well as the tournaments. The kids all really liked participating in the program, which they said had taught them about HIV/AIDS, setting goals, and being confident in themselves. They also had a wonderful time playing in the tournaments, although they agreed that playing without referees was challenging. Based on my observations of the tournaments and my discussions with the WhizzKids participants, I can clearly see that the program has been incredibly beneficial to the kids, offering them a unique opportunity to learn essential life skills while participating in something that they truly love.
I look forward to seeing the four WhizzKids participants and their coach again at the festival in a few weeks!
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