After the first 4 games of the WhizzKids United Mixed Gender League, hosted at the WhizzKids United Health Academy in Edendale, were played over 30 goals have been scored. I am amazed by the brilliant goals and the celebrations of the visiting fans during the games. The number of spectators was marvelous; more than 100 kids attended the matches to support their teams by dancing and singing on the sidelines of the pitch. The WhizzKids United Mixed Gender League practices the FIFA Fair-Play rules. This is demonstrated before and after the match by the players exchanging handshakes and taking responsibility of the rules they have set before the league started. I did not expect such good teamwork between girls and boys and the amount of goals scored by females during the first week of action.
In the following months we hope to reach our target of getting all of the eight involved schools, player as well as fans, to attend the services offered at the WhizzKids United Health Academy, such as HCT (HIV Counseling and Testing), OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children), feeding schemes, Life Skills programs, medical services, HIV/AIDS treatment and support group to make sure the kids practice a healthy lifestyle.
I am very excited about what is going to happen during the following weeks and looking forward to the upcoming games at the WhizzKids United Health Academy.
On Friday (18th October 2010) WhizzKids United will be launching a new initiative called the WKU Mixed Gender Football League. The project is funded by NIKE RED and administered by the King Baudouin Foundation. The purpose of this project is to implement a mixed genders football league at our Health Academy involving eight primary schools in the area and to increase boys and girls awareness of and their interest in the Health Academy.
Nkosinathi Mbanjwa (one of our Edendale Life Skills trainers) is the the League Administrator. Each of the eight primary schools will contribute one team to the league. Each school's team will consist of four girls and four boys from Grade 6. No Grade 7's can participate because the league will be continuing into 2011. Benefits for the schools include: children's participation in Life Skills training, a framed certificate at the end of the season for participating in the league, coloured WhizzKids United posters to display in the school, photographs of their team, at least two footballs to use for their teams training, opportunity to win one of three trophies, school teams will receive a free football kit and a great opportunity to play football. This is an ideal opportunity for schools to build up spirit and pride as well as promote gender equality and battle stereotypes against girls playing football.
Today I was scheduled to go to a township south of Durban called Umlazi. I was getting into the old WhizzKids United Fiat and not realizing that I was getting in on the wrong side of the car, and about to try and drive the car from the passengers seat!! Even though this was not my first time driving on the other side of the road.
After getting into the car and starting it up, a manual car this is, I pulled out and made my way to the office to pick up some papers I needed at the township. Once I was done in the office I hopped back into the Fiat and pulled out of the office, before I knew it there I was driving down the center of Durban and then along the coast, ON THE WRONG ROAD. After about a 15 minute self-guided tour of Durban in the Fiat I finally found the M4 South, and was on my way to pick up one of our Life Skills Trainers. I got to Umlazi fine, and from there on out I was driving that manual Fiat as though I owned it.
The trip was a very successful one, I got the chance to sit in on 3 meetings in 3 different schools about setting up our Life Skills Program at their schools in the coming year. With the 3 schools combined we would be reaching to over 1000 kids! It is really encouraging when you are able to sit there in a Principals office and talk to them about your organization and before you know it, they are asking you when you can start. I also got the chance to watch our Life Skills Trainers (2 of them) teach 3 different classes, which was interesting to see how well they interacted with the children.
On the drive back to Durban while we stopped for some food, a car pulled up behind us. The two women in the car were apparently taking down the WhizzKids United phone number and email address, to try and get WhizzKids United to run programs at their school, which would increase the amount of children we reach in Umlazi by several hundred.
I would say that the trip was a very successful one and it will be interesting to see what comes out of todays meetings.
There I was on Monday afternoon, sitting in the front seat of the car heading past all the game parks and open landscape, on my way to Jozini. This was only a week after I had arrived in Durban to begin my 6 month volunteer experience with WhizzKids United.
Jozini is a town located in Northern KwaZulu Natal Province, in the hills surrounded by open space with goats and cows roaming freely. Jozini is known for the large dam that is below the town itself.
The trip was an extremely successful one, not only in getting to know the programmes better, but also in getting to know the Life Skills Trainers that work for WhizzKids United in Jozini.
While we were in Jozini we managed to get the Pre-Questionnaires completed in two schools with 287 children and successfully setting up our start dates and times for our Life Skills Trainers to begin the Life Skills Programme.
Looking back at the trip, it was a great insight into the work that WhizzKids United does and seeing some of our newer Life Skills Trainers at work. It was interesting to see the attention the programme bought to the other children in the Primary School, and before we knew it the balls that were being used for our Life Skills lessons were being used, on the outskirts of the field, in all the small-sided games that had been arranged by other children. This brought great hope to me! It showed me the power that football (soccer) has in bringing people together, and the interest that children have in this sport. On the trip Paul, Zanele, and I were able to share some of our knowledge on teaching, Life Skills, and children with the staff, which lead to growth even from one day to the next.
While we were in Jozini I had some time to work with the trainers on a one on one basis and assisting them in understanding our Life Skills programme, HIV/AIDS and also a chance for me to learn some Zulu.
The highlight of my trip to Jozini was when one of our Life Skills Trainers needed to borrow a Life Skills Manual. I had mine in the car and went quickly to fetch it for him; upon bringing it back I turned to him and told him “ngiyakuthanda”, which he, and the children responded in a roar of laughter! I told him in Zulu that I loved him.
Soon after that I was back in the car heading back to Durban, repeating my Zulu words in my head, and then rummaging through my pocket to pull out the wrinkled piece of paper that had my “key” Zulu terms on it. The most important being “ngiyakuthanda”!
The delighted winners of the recent SPOT THE BALL competition receive their prizes from Marcus McGilvray at the WhizzKids United offices in Durban last Friday. We would like to thank our generous sponsors Protea Hotel Hluhluwe & Safaris, Spingbok Lodge and Elephant Rock Private Safari Lodge at Namibity Game Park for the two nights stay which also included all meals, two game drives in an open vehicle! Photo with compliments of Lauren of Berea Mail (Durban).