Insight into Rustenburg
posted by Stefan Kunze on 25 February 2011
Moeketsi teaching the Life Skills
Moeketsi teaching the Life Skills

Two of our Life Skills trainers in Rustenburg, Elsie and Moeketsi, took some time this week to give you a little insight into their work and tell you about the experience they had with WhizzKids United:

For the first day when we started the programme it was little difficult because it was something new to the learners as well as the teachers. Up until we explained to them that the aim of the programme is to teach life skills compared to football skills. We explained that, the reason why we chose football is because football is understood by many people and it is the game where goals should be set in order to win which in life is to set goals in order to achieve at last. In this manner they began to understand and things started to be easy for both learners, teachers and us as well. Now the programme seems fun and empowering at the same time. Thanks to you guys.

From Elsie and Moeketsi

WhizzKids United big clean-up in Jisonayilli
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 22 February 2011
Jisonayillis children collecting rubbish and clean their environment
Jisonayillis children collecting rubbish and clean their environment

On Saturday 21st January 2011 WhizzKids United, WKU, launched the first of its activities for the year in Ghana with a clean-up campaign in Jisonayilli, home to its WKU Youth Clinic run in partnership with Planned Parenthood Association Ghana, PPAG. WKU solicited help from the Head Master and teachers at Jisonayilli Islamic Primary School to encourage the school children to give up their Saturday and help with the clean-up. Such was the response that when we met at the Clinic 8.00am that Saturday morning over 800 kids were waiting! We distributed over 400 black refuge bags and the children went out in teams across the village. The Northern Region of Ghana is extremely poor and thus taking care of litter is a very low priority. There are also no provisions in the form of litter bins but rather rubbish is burnt ad hoc. The constant use of plastic as carrier bags and half litre plastic bags of pure water are the major source of rubbish that litters ever road, path and field around. We set about educating the school children about how litter not only spreads disease but also saps peoples pride in their surroundings. Armed with black sacks, knowledge and a desire to clear up they set about picking up the rubbish from the streets and talking to adults, friends, parents about why it is important to keep Jisonayilli, their home, clean.The children displayed their usual happy, friendly chatter and willingness to help as they set about their work. The heat and the constant dust being blown by the Harmattan winds did little to dampen their enthusiasm. Children as young as eight joined in to help and be part of the day. At the end of the day the children returned with bags bursting with rubbish and as a reward their school received 150 soccer balls and the children each had a kebab! It was only something small but they showed great appreciation as meat is a luxury for many in these parts. As we surveyed the huge pile of rubbish and the rubbish still littering the community we realised that much more work still needs to be done in this department and next time we need to buy 2,000 refuge bags! The school has now started a WKU Environment Club to encourage children not to throw litter on the floor. On Monday I met with the Director of Sanitation for the Northern Region, Ghana and discussed with him the problem of litter. He said the greatest challenges lie in a lack of resources to tackle the problem and the dire need to educate the people about disposing safely and cleanly of rubbish. He did however agree to send a large container truck to clear away all the refuge we’d collected which duly arrived the following day.

Written by Marcus McGilvray-Ghana 2011.

A Not So New Newbie
posted by Erica Rice on 18 February 2011
In case it helps to put a face with a name...
In case it helps to put a face with a name...

Hey!  My name is Erica.  I'm not so new anymore, but I'm definitely still learning the ropes here at WhizzKids United.  I arrived about four weeks ago and have been busy getting acquainted with life here in South Africa.  I'm especially pleased to enjoy the warm weather after a month of snow back home!

I'm here at WhizzKids United completing an internship for my Masters in Social Work.  I had the pleasure of working with an AIDS organization for over a year back home in Alabama during undergrad.  This experience sparked my interest in AIDS prevention and education.  So much so that when it was time to decide on an internship, I decided I would try my hand at AIDS work internationally...so here I am!

The past four weeks have been a whirlwind of wonderfully new experiences.  I have spent a good bit of my time working out at the relatively new Health Academy in Edendale.  I've also just returned from my first conference here in South Africa about youth and behaviors that put them at risk, which is  great considering my limited  knowledge on issues specific to South African youth.  It has been great getting to know people around Durban and Edendale.  Of course my experiences aren't just limited to work.  I've already enjoyed some of South Africa's beautiful beaches, tasty restaurants and over-sized malls! 

This is shaping up to be a memorable experience.  I can't wait to see what the next few months have in store!

Happy Birthday WhizzKids United
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 15 February 2011
WhizzKids United birthday party at the Health Academy
WhizzKids United birthday party at the Health Academy

WhizzKids United officially turned five on the weekend, the 13th of February! According to that we had our belated birthday party on Monday. Moreover we could celebrate the 10th birthday of Africaid UK! For our WhizzKids United Day 2011 we all went dressed up in our new WhizzKids United Shirts to our Health Academy in Edendale where we watched an exciting Mixed Gender League match. Together with the Health Academy staff, our Life Skills trainers and the kids we celebrated five wonderful years of delivering effective HIV prevention, care, treatment and support to youth worldwide through the medium of football! The last five years are filled with a lot of memories, as our CEO Marcus mentioned in his retrospective speech. Time for a short review: In 2006 WhizzKids United launches in Edendale, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa with a revolutionary new approach to HIV prevention. One that uses football as an analogy to teach life skills to young people. In addition to our Life Skills program we launched our Peer Education in 2008 and became a programme partner of FIFA Football for Hope and a network member of the German-based organisation streetfootballworld. In June 2010 we proudly opened the first WhizzKids United Health Academy in Edendale. Furthermore we contine our programs in Uganda, Australia, Ghana and England. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal we have operated in four of KZN’s eleven districts: uMgungundlovu, eThekwini, uThungulu and iLembe. We have already reached more than 12,000 children with our programs in South Africa! The journey has just started for WKU and with your support we will scale up across the world in the next five years!

Football Festival Players preparing to run Life Skills in Lamontville
posted by Sithule Biyela on 11 February 2011
Team South Africa in Alexandra at the Footbal for Hope Festival 2010
Team South Africa in Alexandra at the Footbal for Hope Festival 2010

My name is Sithule Biyela. I am 27 years old, I am staying at Lamontville and I was born there. I am working for WhizzKids United and I started last year. I am running a project which started last year February that project is from FIFA FOOTBALL FOR HOPE and I was given a chance to be in charge of it. The way it started I invited two schools which was Bantuvukani School from Lamonville and Sekelani high school from uMlazi -- there were close to 300 kids then. I made a tournament where they played 6 aside mix gender and there were people who were helping me in terms of selecting those kids. The first 20 kids were selected and I had to trim it down to the number of 10 kids. We then gave them 10 statements where they had to choose the correct answers. The statements were about HIV/AIDS and the children had to answer true or false. We got the number to four kids who went to the FIFA FOOTBALL FOR HOPE Festival. Before they went to JHB I had to train them from February to June twice a week for two hours. I also prepared a traditional cultural song.

While we preparing there were lot of challenges I was facing there because it wasn’t easy to working with different kids from different teams especially when they misbehave and I had to discipline them. That was the worse part for me, because some of them are spoiled, especially the girls. Those four kids, 2 girls and 2 boys were making up part of the the South African team. We went to JHB by June when we got there we met another organisation which is Altus Sport - they were mixed with us to be a South African team. There were many teams with different languages and the challenge for me and for the kids as well was playing with people who speak French, the second was that these kids had to record everything that they were doing each and everyday having interviews daily and being followed by the film crew. I think it was difficult for them, because it was their first time away from home and in front of a camera. The most I enjoyed was to be given an opportunity to be a young leader in JHB and also to work as a mediator in different games having someone who is translating French to English etc to support me. I also made new friends who I am still in contact with. We are still working on a documentary, but with the girls only. I am training them to be Peer Educators. I meet them twice a week teaching them how to do Life skills, using our 6 session manual since they will be the Peer Educators training 10 kids. This will be a big part of the documentary which will be out soon.

Only or already 90 days?
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 8 February 2011
Me and a bunch of kids at our Health Academy Christmas Party
Me and a bunch of kids at our Health Academy Christmas Party

90 days or rather a quarter of a year: I have to admit that at first sight it is not really a high number, but if I turn back the time and pass these last 90 days before my inner eye, I can say that this time is full of unique moments and experiences.

When I landed in South Africa on the 10th of November I honestly wasn’t sure about my expectations. Of course I had a picture in mind how it might look like, but I wouldn’t say it was really defined. I mean following the progress before and after the FIFA Football World Cup 2010 in South Africa can’t give you a objective and clear picture of a country. Apparently South Africa presented itself in the best light and showed how much variety and potential this country offers. In addition to my historical background and some experience reports about volunteering in South Africa in university my picture about South Africa was particularly affected by superficial media coverage.

In this regard some people might call it naive to go almost blind into a third-world-country to fight against HIV/AIDS and to believe that I could make a change. I agree in one point, maybe it needs a bit of naivety, but what my work with WhizzKids United showed me at once, was that you as an individual with limited resources are definitely able to have an influence! It needs no superman power or magic, just motivation and the belief in change. The key is simple, take some footballs, draw a pitch on the rough ground in the townships and maybe you bring some medals, I am sure you will see the joy in the kids eyes.I am convinced that becoming a “WhizzKid” affects the long-term children in a positive way. They definitely will keep the tournament in mind and tell friends and family of it while they proudly present their medal. In this context they will probably mention our Life skills program as well and they maybe even share their gained know-how about HIV/AIDS.

All I can say so far is that these 90 days are already affected me. I had a stunning holiday Road Trip, I have made friends and I really enjoy working in this lovely team. That’s why I am looking forward to the next three month and I hope time runs slow!!

Another newbie!
posted by Lauren Kocher on 2 February 2011
My first trip to Umlazi
My first trip to Umlazi

Hi! My name is Lauren and last week I spent 2 days travelling to get to Durban to join the Whizzkids Utd team!

I heard about Whizzkids through One to One Children's Fund who I interned for in the Summer and was very excited when I found out I would be able to come out and help with the hugely important programmes that are run by this small team.

I have just finished an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and am hoping that the knowledge and skills I gained from this, One to One, and my previous voluntary work in Ghana and South Africa, will be useful to Whizzkids and will add something to the organisation.

This week has been spent learning more about Whizzkids and what they do, I was lucky enough to be able to visit Umlazi and observe a Life Skills lesson in full flow which was fantastic, I feel it is very important to be able to physically see how the work we are doing is affecting children and schools in more neglected areas. I was also able to go along to a meeting with a school in which we are hoping to run the Life Skills classes, the meeting was fantastic as both the department head and deputy principal were extremely receptive and could not wait for us to start.

The volunteer house is great, everyone has been really welcoming and friendly and have their own stories to tell which I am looking forward to hearing more about.

My experiences so far have been very positive, aside from the bright pink sunburn I gained on my first trip to the beach! I am very much looking forward to becoming more involved with Whizzkids (as well as spending more time on the beach in an attempt to become brown rather than pink!).

Development of Sport in South Africa
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 1 February 2011
WhizzKids cant wait  for kick off  Nigeria vs. South Korea
WhizzKids cant wait for kick off Nigeria vs. South Korea

“Sport has a role to play in uniting countries, because it speaks a language and has ideals beyond the reach of politicians” said by Nelson Mandela after the South African rugby World Cup victory in 1995. During the apartheid years, sport was mainly the domain of the white minority and there is no doubt that the Apartheid divided the country, but like Nelson Mandela said through sports we can break barriers of race, class and gender.

With the demise of apartheid, South Africa constructed a national sport structure, but like everybody knows development needs time!According to that it is not surprising that it is still difficult for the black community to gain access to sport facilities. All too often it is a problem of mobility. A large number of black Africans live in rural areas with no, or only shabby sport facilities. Quite a few people call the rough grounds in the townships euphemistically a “pitch”. Beside the bad or nonexistent resources in the disadvantaged communities the gender inequality in sport is a huge problem. At the moment the sad reality is that women are under-represented in sport, and black women are the least involved. The rate of black South African woman who do sports is shocking, if you keep in mind that black woman account for 80 % of the female population in South Africa, but only 10,8 % taking exercises! This development is rooted with the African culture and moreover with the traditional South African woman role model, which sees woman more in charge of the work at home.

But in general you can say South Africa is a crazy sport nation. The most popular spectator sports are football, rugby and cricket. The South African national team “Bafana Bafana” returned to the world stage in 1992, after years of banned out from FIFA due to the apartheid system. Already a few years later “Bafana Bafana” qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and 2002. By the way “Bafana Bafana” is Zulu and means “our boys”.Beside cricket and football, rugby is also a national South African sport. The “Springboks” are counted among the best teams in the world.

I think South Africa already did a big step and sport for all can become reality! Especially the FIFA World Cup 2010 was a huge “stepping stone” for the development of the country and I am convinced that programs like WhizzKids United help to make a change! There is a reason why WhizzKids United sticks up for gender equality and teaches HIV/AIDS education and Life Skills through the medium of football!To come back to the Nelson Mandela quotation from the beginning, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa showed me mainly this: Race and skin colour no longer have a meaning in sport. South Africa as one nation shared and celebrated this colourful football spectacle with the world. Thank you for being such a wonderful host!

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