Two days, 275 children, pleasant anticipation, hotdogs, smiling faces of winners and long faces of loosers - yes, this is about tournaments in Rustenburg!
This week I went to Rustenburg in the North West Province for the first time. Together with my colleague Paul we travelled there to support our Life Skills trainers Elsie, Moeketsi, Buang and Sello to support them in running tournaments with the children from Boikagong Primary School. Except for Elsie they were the first tournaments for the other three trainers as they have been working for WhizzKids United only since the beginning of this year.
For me it was a very exciting trip because of various reasons. Firstly, it was my first time in Rustenburg so that I saw a completely different part of South Africa where I have never been before. Secondly, it was great to meet the trainers there. As a Programme Co-ordinator I am regularly in contact with our trainers from all the areas where we work. But meeting them in real life and not only knowing them through the telephone is something completely different. And last but not least, it was amazing to spend two days with the children from the school. All of them - boys and girls - were completely excited to participate in our event. Also the teachers and the principal enjoyed the days and offered us helpful and much appreciated support. Particularly, the second day was very successful as team South Africa turned out to be the best team of the tournament. Consequently, there were singing, dancing and clapping children all over the football field.
Experiences like that make the work for WhizzKids United unforgettable!
Since the end of last week the first school term of the year is over already and the schools in KwaZulu-Natal are closed for a couple of holidays. Surely, teachers and learners are using the free days to recover from each other and spend time with relatives and friends.
The Programme Team of WhizzKids United, however, is rather using the school break to plan the upcoming weeks and ensure that our Life Skills and Peer Education programme will run as smoothly in the second term as they did in the first one. In KwaZulu-Natal we are currently working in two primary schools in the Umlazi township, one high school in the township of Edendale and three other primary schools in North eThekwini. As the Life Skills programme will be finished soon in two of the schools in North eThekwini, WhizzKids United and its partner organisation Medical Care Development International (MCDI) work closely together in order to approach new schools in this area. We make sure that the ball will keep rolling!
As I am a Programme Co-ordinator at WhizzKids United, I often work together with our Life Skills trainers, especially with our nine facilitators in KwaZulu-Natal. I support them with the preparation and administration of the programme and I also visit them regularly on site. Additionally, the trainers come to the head office every Friday, where the Durban-based office staff run workshops with them, which improve their knowledge about HIV & AIDS, gender roles, goal-setting, football skills, personal development skills and much more...
I know that our trainers have a very challenging job and that successfully implementing and running the programme in the field is usually not easy. But I would like to thank all our Life Skills facilitators for their great work during the last few months and their outstanding commitment to make a positive change in young peoples' lives. Your effort is exceptional and remarkable! Thank you, guys!
Recently, South African schools started in the first term of the new year. That means, many hopefully highly motivated kids had to return into the class rooms and had to say goodbye to their lazy days. The relaxing holidays are also over for the WhizzKids United staff and now everybody in the office has quite a busy time, as there are many things which need to be organised and discussed at the beginning of a new school term.
Last week for example, I went on three site visits in the greater Durban area – one to Umlazi and two to Northern eThekwini. In Northern eThekwini I visited our partner MCDI (Medical Care Development International) who funds our programme in that area, as well as the Trenance Park Primary School in order to make final agreements with the Principal so that our Life Skills Trainers Slindile and Phumlani can start their work there as soon as possible.I also drove to Umlazi, which was actually my first site visit I’ve ever done all alone! After I managed to find my way to the township in the South of Durban (without any GPS or Google print-outs!) I met with our Life Skill Trainer Siphelele. He was positively surprised that I already waited for him at the bus stop, where we usually pick him up – well, that is what I call German reliability and punctuality ;-)! Together we went to the primary schools Bashokuhle and Emthethweni to discuss the Life Skills and Peer Education Programme, which will start in the schools this week. Beside the work related talking it is always interesting to have a chat with Siphelele about the Umlazi Township, where he grew up. Do you know, for example, that women in some sections of the township are not allowed to wear trousers (otherwise it is seriously life-threatening!) or that Umlazi is the biggest township in South Africa in terms of area?! No? Well, you live and learn.
For me, being in South Africa is an amazing life time experience and I am very proud to work for WhizzKids United. I am sure, that truly every one of us is very committed and works hard to ensure a successful start of WhizzKids United in the new school term. GO, WHIZZKIDS, GO !!!