Final Whistle at WhizzKids United!
posted by Oli Walsh on 4 August 2010
Top of Moses Mahbida - great view of Durban!
Top of Moses Mahbida - great view of Durban!
Time flies so quickly! It seems like only yesterday that I had been packing up my life to come to South Africa, and now 16 months later, I am back home!

I have tried to think of the highlights of my stay in South Africa, and there have been so many, both at work and also away from the WhizzKids United office, that I could not do it justice in this blog. Instead I have put ten highlights that I could think of, but am sure as I reflect, there could be many more! If you can think of more you can leave a comment at the bottom........

1. First World Cup graduation tournament; these tournaments are great as they give everyone a chance to see all office work they are doing put into action, interact with the kids and get a sun tan! They also take place in the townships and give a real opportunity to interact and feel a part of these communities. Ten in ten days is too many, but still......

2. Visit to Lesotho on Easter Weekend last year; one of my first trips within South Africa, with other WhizzKids volunteers, getting to see a music festival, the mountains and ride a (slow) horse

3. Working with Marcus at the World HIV / AIDS conference at the ICC in Durban. The first opportunity to present our programme, talk to people and see the passion that Marcus had as he interacted with delegates. Long days on our feet but worth it!

4. Getting a fundraising proposal accepted!

5. (Delayed) opening of the Health Academy

6. Lunch time cross bar challenges

7. Attending the first Football for Hope Centre opening in Khayeltisha with eight WhizzKids!

8. The World Cup - from media visits, to the Castrol camps through to attending World Cup games, the World Cup really was a once in a lifetime opportunity that South Africa truly embraced and am lucky to say - I was there!

9. Dancing Fridays - this could have been included in the World Cup but thought it deserved its own mention. Doing the Waka Waka with all staff as it came on the radio was great; I know there is a video somewhere, but let’s hope it never makes it online!

10. The people; while not a highlight all the people I have worked with from office staff, to the many volunteers (and the life at 313), through to the trainers, as well as partners, streetfootball world and basically anyone I have had contact with! There is such passion and dedication in our field and particularly at WhizzKids United that it is infectious, making it so hard to leave!

Okay, so I am sure I have bored you all by now, it really has been an incredible time, and I hope to see you all again in the future!

p.s. sorry Stefan if there are spelling mistakes!
Great photos of Holiday Camps at Umlazi
posted by Oli Walsh on 9 July 2010
Stefan celebrating with some WhizzKids at the camp
Stefan celebrating with some WhizzKids at the camp
A couple of weeks ago we had a visit from Lorrie Fair and her Kickabout team and their photographer Eli took some amazing photos of the camp which he has now posted on his photo blog.

Please go to Elis Kickabout Africa blog to check them out, with a few too many shots of our staff doing Shakira and Freshly Ground′s Waka Waka dance with the kids!
Festival 2010 Update from Alexandra
posted by Oli Walsh on 7 July 2010
Half of Team South Africa at Soccer City
Half of Team South Africa at Soccer City
While the excitement is building in the office, particularly as WKU staff are getting the opportunity to see Germany v Spain live, our Festival 2010 Kids are up in Alexandra putting in some great performances on and off the football field.

Hopefully they will get a chance to come on the blog themselves and share their experiences with you themselves, if not now, but at the very least when they return from the Festival.

In the meantime I can try and update you!

Last week they spent their time painting, taking part in coaching sessions (led by their own coaches who had taken part in Coerver coaching courses), further developing their photography skills as part of Sony′s Siyakhona project. They also got the opportunity to discuss their own life experiences with heir new friends from around the World and to hear how kids from around the world spend their daily lives.

They wrapped up warm and went to see Ghana v Uruguay and while the result was not what they wanted due to some dubious Uruguayan play, I am sure they enjoyed the atmosphere at Soccer City!

On Sunday the tournament started, opened by Jacob Zuma, President of RSA and Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA. It seems the WhizzKids have bonded quickly with their new team mates Altus sport to from Team South Africa, as in the tournament so far, they have won three and lost just one. Just as importantly they are following FIFA fair play guidelines and making new friends, so keep it up!

You can get more updates on Festival 2010 through the streetfootballworld site
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.
50 Days to go.....
posted by Oli Walsh on 21 April 2010
Beachfront construction from the stadium roof!
Beachfront construction from the stadium roof!
With only 50 days to go to the World Cup (please ignore our website counter as we have been the victims of hackers again), the excitement and pressure is building in South Africa.

While we anxiously wait for the teams to arrive, and hope none of the big stars are injured in their remaining games for their club teams, will South Africa be ready?

It is hard to gauge how many foreign fans will be coming for the World Cup, with estimates ranging from 100,000 and up! We hope that when they come, that Durban in particular, will have finished all of its upgades, from its airport due to open on May 1st to the beach front which has been a building site over the summer.

Durban is a truly beautiful city by the sea and hope that the impetus provided by the World Cup, and the foreign visitors who visit us for the first time in June, will comeback, and ensure Durban is a holiday spot of choice for the future!

In a further effort to keep you updated on what is going on at WhizzKids United, we have launched a twitter page, which provides daily, if not hourly updates!
Another volunteer goes......
posted by Oli Walsh on 9 April 2010
Matthias at Greyville School
Matthias at Greyville School
Today marks the last day at WhizzKids United for Matthias, who has been with us for six months. He has perfumed a number of duties across all departments; from very menial tasks like photocopying and printing, to piloting a film project and being an enthusiastic Life Skills assistant at Greyville School. He has been a great asset, not only in the office, but also in the volunteer house with his superb cooking skills and enthusiasm for everything he does! He loves the sunshine and the beach, which I am sure he will miss; I hope he will miss us too!

We will have a new volunteer arriving from Germany on Sunday, Daniel Schöberl, so please join me in welcoming him.

We are always looking for volunteers, both international AND South African, to work at our centre of excellence in Durban, for placements of six months. Due to our funding we rely heavily on these volunteers who carry out allot of our office administration, to ensure our programme can be delivered in the field. If you are interested please have a look at our volunteers section or contact me: oli@africaid.org.za
Four day weeks the way forward.....
posted by Oli Walsh on 6 April 2010
Last week was a four day week, as is this week, which is always a bonus! Four day weekends, always go down well with staff and volunteers. That did not mean that last week was not productive, and there is alot more to do this week!
Paul, our programme director ran a training workshop with our trainers last week to introduce them to the new eight session manual and is running a Peer Education Workshop this week. It was a good opportunity for the office based staff to interact with the field staff and take part in drills. I really enjoyed taking part in the life skills and getting out in the fresh air and sunshine with the trainers; an opportunity to get out of the office, albiet briefly!
We are in the process of working on venues and locations for three five day summer camps we are hosting over the World Cup with Castrol and Grassroots Soccer and will finalise the plans once the schools are back for term 2.
Last but no least, we are getting even closer to finalising funding for our football pitch at the Health Acacdemy, which is super exciting and will let you know once it is confirmed. Enjoy the short week!
Festival 2010 Week of Action: Lamontville Tournament
posted by Oli Walsh on 29 March 2010
Situhle - The star of the day!
Situhle - The star of the day!
Last week was a busy week, with Stefan and Matthias away on holiday and Paul and Marcus in Pretoria with AMREF for an OVC workshop. So the office was very quiet, but still remained productive!
The highlight of the week was an event on Saturday, led by our trainer Situhle, to coincide with Festival 2010′s week of action. All delegations were encouraged to publicise their participation, as the Festival 2010 site was being opened in Alexandra.
Situhle came up with the idea to run a tournament, with kids who had been excluded from the original selection given their chance to play! The kids who had been selected for Festival 2010 were also there, as mentors for the event and to give them something to aspire to.
Unfortunately many of the kids seemed put off by the rain, but we eventually had a good turn out, some 2 hours later, once the rain had cleared!
Situhle deserves a big thank you for her help. To find out more about her please have a look at Situhle′s profile on our site and feel free to email her with questions!
Join our facebook page!!!!
posted by Oli Walsh on 18 March 2010
Dear followers
We are trying to increase the reach and awareness of our programme, with one very obvious way being through the magic of facebook!
We do not have an icon on our site that links you directly but that will come. For the time being, please follow the link to the WhizzKids Facebook page and join!
Thanks
WhizzKids United wins at Global Sports Forum!
posted by Oli Walsh on 10 March 2010
Further to our news story on the front page of our news section, we just wanted to share what a great ahievement this is for our organisation.
It is the culmination of many years hard work, led by Marcus, but abley assisted by all our field staff, permanent staff and volunteer staff past and present. Last but certainly not least, we must mention the beneficiaries, the 10,000 + kids that this programme has helped. Let′s hope this recognition will help drive our programme forward to fulfil our ultimate aim; to provide HIV prevention, care, support and treatment to as many youths as possible worldwide through the medium of football!
FIFA Festival 2010 Kids selected
posted by Oli Walsh on 5 March 2010
WhizzKids graduates, staff and Lamontville Golden Arrows
WhizzKids graduates, staff and Lamontville Golden Arrows
Today marked the day when we would eventually try and select our kids for Festival 2010. Having been postponed by a week due to the Durban weather, there was an air of nervousness at the volunteer house last night as the rain came down!

Thankfully this morning the sun came out, and it had not actually rained in Lamontville! So between 100 and 150 kids, boys and girls, from three schools that had participated in our life skills programme came to Lamontville Sports Ground, all hoping to clinch one of the four spots for Festival 2010!

FIFA’s Football for Hope Festival 2010 is a week long programme of sporting, artistic and musical activities with 52 organisations using sport for social change flying in from around the world. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expressed that “the Football for Hope Festival will be a unique opportunity for organisations using football as a tool for social development in every part of the world to interact with each other and to showcase their programmes on football’s biggest stage –the 2010 FIFA World Cup. We look forward to welcoming them to South Africa and experiencing together how football is contributing to a better future.”

We are partnering with Altus Sport who will be providing the older kids in the 15-18 bracket, as a lot of our kids were on the younger side. Unfortunately we have had to exclude many kids form the selection process as they were just too young, with much of our focus on 11-14 year old kids.

The day had been designed by Matthias and Stefan, with the morning focus on football ability, attitude and how they worked within a team. The kids were then whittled down to a group of 30, who took part in some life skills and football sessions, until we had a final 10 who all presented on a topic from our programme! We then ended up with our final four, two boys and two girls who were the chosen ones!

The highlight for all the kids (apart from the chosen four!), was a visit from local PSL side Lamontville Golden Arrows. They very kindly brought all of their playing squad, as well as their coaching staff. They talked to all our kids of their experiences as footballers, their life experiences, stressed the importance of attitude and also gave the kids a chance to ask questions, with one kid asking Philani Shange why he had not finished school! A big thank you to Lamontville Golden Arrows, the chance for the kids to meet their heroes is a real motivator, especially as many of them aspire to be footballers one day!

Please check out our gallery soon for more pictures from the event
100 Days to go!
posted by Oli Walsh on 1 March 2010
(from left to right) Sepp Blatter, Lethu Mkhize, Marcus McGilvray
(from left to right) Sepp Blatter, Lethu Mkhize, Marcus McGilvray
Today marked the 100 day countdown to the World Cup, which was a day of celebration across South Africa. FIFA, alongside the LOC and 100 journalists, had visited all the hosting cities and their stadia. The tour culminated in a lavish banquet at the ICC last night, attended by our CEO Marcus, followed by an event at the Moses Mabhida Stadium today with South Africa due to play tomorrow.
As FIFA’s only Football for Hope implementing partner in KwaZulu natal, we were very excited to hear that FIFA would be coming to Durban and this was heightened when we heard that FIFA would come visit our programme, as our headquarters are just 5 minutes from the stadium. We readied the kids, who all painted banners for the event and organised a tournament and life skills event for the day, involving over 200 kids and staff. Plans then changed slightly; we would not hold the event at our ofifce but we could still take the kids to the stadium to be part of the official event. Finally, yesterday, we were told we could take one kid along to meet the President, not exactly what we had hoped for, but a once in a lifetime for him nonetheless. Lethu Mkhize was selected from Clarence Primary School as their best footballer; I will upload a picture tomorrow!!!
So let us celebrate that the World Cup is nearly here but keep our fingers crossed that we can be a part of the legacy that lives on!
Thank you to two of our supporters
posted by Oli Walsh on 1 March 2010
I just wanted to write a note to say a big thank you to two supporters who have raised funds for us through an online fundraising portal backabuddy.
Both were supporting very different causes; Gina Timm whose father had sadly passed away asked friends and family to donate to our organisation, instead of donating flowers. We are really thrilled, and the feedback from Gina is that we were chosen becuase of her dad′s love for kids and football, which is great!
The second donation came through Craig Lazarus, who is hoping to raise 100,000 RA by running the London marathon. We wish him the best of luck both in his training and also in is fundraising!
If you would like to donate to either cause, or set up your own fundraising page for Africaid and any events you may be doing then please let me know.
We are so touched by the generousity of the two of them, so thank you again!
NGO Work - A Rollercoaster Ride
posted by Oli Walsh on 27 February 2010
Last week best illustrated the rollercoaster ride that all those working in an NGO experience, almost on a daily basis!
Good news is almost always followed by bad news and vice versa, we just need to ensure we do not let the bad news keep us down and ensure we celebrate the good news!
Whether it is feedback from a funding proposal, news on an award, conversations with local government departments or at a basic level and our expectations that our good work should get the recognition it deserves; either internally, externally or from the very organisations that are supposed to support you!
This aside we had a great two days of internal training and capacity building with another local organisation, OneVoice South Africa, who like us are looking at HIV prevention but through creative expression. It gave us all a chance to share ideas on our organisation, talk openly and frankly with our counterparts and look at ways we could learn from each other and work together moving forward. All staff from our side benefited greatly from it and hope the One Vocie staff felt the same. We hope everyone keeps their promises to work together and share best practice!
Matthias the media star
posted by Oli Walsh on 19 February 2010
The office was quiet at times this week, with Marcus our CEO away in Europe, Paul and Simanga from the programme management team in Jozini, launching a new programme with AMREF, Stefan in and out of the office on site visits, and Tom and Zanele going to Jozini on Thursday to carry out pre-questionnaires for M & E!
Work still went on, with a big focus on the struggle to secure funds for the pitch at the Health Academy!
Matthias received feedback on a tournament his old football coach had organised in Germany, which managed to raise over 1000 Euros for WhizzKids. It was attended by ex volunteer Harry to be our WhizzKids representative. So big thanks to Matthias′s coach, Harry and of course Matthias! This is really something we want to push with ex volunteers to try and get them involved in fundraising in their own countries, and to ensure they are spreading the WhizzKids word! As a result, Matthias has become a media star with a story in a local German newspaper, so well done! We will write a full story on Harry’s feedback from the tournament in the newsletter this month!
WhizzKids United Day
posted by Oli Walsh on 13 February 2010
WhizzKids Staff on top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium
WhizzKids Staff on top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium
February the 13th is a very special day in the life of Africaid′s WhizzKids United. On this day, back in 2006, WhizzKids United was officially launched.
We sometimes get so involved in our work, that we do not stop to reflect and celebrate all the great things we have done. So we thought it would be a good idea to make the 13th of February WhizzKids United day and celebrate our achievements in helping so many kids, now, but also for years to come!
Since our programme started in 2006 (it was developed between 2004 and 2005) in Edendale, KwaZuluNatal, we have had 10,000 kids through our programme!
Yesterday, we marked the occasion (on the Friday as the day itself fell on a Saturday), by closing the office for a couple of hours and taking all our office staff and trainers, to climb the arch of the Moses Mahbida stadium, all 550 steps up and 550 down, with an amazing view of Durban!
It was a great team bonding experience, an opportunity for everyone to reflect on WhizzKids′ achievements and to look forward to the World Cup and beyond!
Let’s remember to celebrate February 13th every year from now on; it is much more important than the 14th!
Visit to pitch manufacturer!
posted by Oli Walsh on 3 February 2010
A pitch in production
A pitch in production
Yesterday Marcus and I visited a company based in Pietermaritz- burg, Greenfields, who we are looking to produce our new pitch for the Health Academy.
It was great to meet them as they clearly have alot of expertise in the area and we got to visit the factory which showed us the entire process involved in producing the pitch! It is a huge factory and the process is many steps, followed with great care and attention!
We really want to ensure that the pitch we build is a top quality pitch as this Health Academy is our first and will be the template for all future WhizzKids United Academies.
From talking to them and their feedback on pitches, we also believe that by investing in this pitch, will ensure it is there for the long term.
We desperately need funding for the pitch, so please go to our donations page; you can either donate money or you can go to betterplace to buy a square of pitch!! If you are a big donor or corporate we can even give you perimeter board exposure around the pitch!
sOccket featured in New York Times
posted by Oli Walsh on 27 January 2010
Kids testing the soccket ball
Kids testing the soccket ball
As some of you may remember, last summer we had a university student from Harvard, Jessica Lin, who was piloting her new project, sOccket, which is a "fun portable energy harvesting power source in the form of a soccer ball".
She piloted the ball with a number of our kids and the development is on going. The project was recently featured in the New York Times, so please read the story here:
New York Times Story
We wish her luck with the programme and follow it with keen interest and hope she can come back to test the final ball!
For more on her programme and to follow their progress please visit the sOccket website.
World Cup getting closer by the day
posted by Oli Walsh on 22 January 2010
The 2010 World Cup is getting closer and closer and to help you keep a track, we have put a countdown on our website, so keep coming back to have a look.

Today is also the deadline for the third ticketing phase, so let′s hope the tickets start to sell a bit better so there are not empty stadiums come June. It is great that FIFA and the LOC are looking into new ways to sell the tickets to ensure they are more accessible to South Africans, but think that they are still far too expensive for your average South African. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so need to ensure that as many people as possible from all walks of life can be a part of this World Cup and ensure it does not just pass them by.

While we have a lot of great teams playing in Durban, we are still waiting to see who will be basing their team in Durban for training purposes. Hopefully it will give our kids an opportunity to attend a training session and get close to some of the World stars. Most teams appear to be choosing places near Jo′burg or at altitude with many teams already deciding their base. The FIFA deadline is next week, so let′s hope Durban can secure a few top teams; it really is a great place to be based!

Merry Christmas
posted by Oli Walsh on 16 December 2009
The tree!
The tree!
Dear All
Just to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Time has flown by since I arrived in March and the amount that the WhizzKids team has achieved in this year is incredible with such a small team.
Enjoy your break whatever you are doing, with our staff and volunteers scattering far and wide for their break.
It still does not feel like Christmas here, might have something to do with it being 25 degrees and not having Christmas songs on the radio every two minutes! We are still trying to create that festive spirit, so hope you like the picture of our Christmas tree in the volunteer house!
Here is to an even better 2010, helping more and more kids and of course looking forward to, the opening of our Health Academy and of course the World Cup.
Oli
Centre Opening and Tournament
posted by Oli Walsh on 11 December 2009
The WhizzKids United Team!
The WhizzKids United Team!
So Saturday saw the start of the tournament! Despite all the other activities during the week, this is what the kids had been looking forward to the most, and the opening was the reason that FIFA had invited us all to Khayelitsha.
We set off in the morning, all dressed in our new bright red WhizzKids United kit, which had been kindly donated by adidas. We were shuffled into our seats to watch the official opening by Sepp Blatter surrounded by a load of VIPS before watching some cultural performances by local kids and a Life Skills demonstration.
We were second on against Team Namibia, but I was whisked off for a pre-match mediation with the first two teams. What an honour to mediate the first game, now I know how referees felt ahead of big games like the World Cup Final!
Each delegation supplied a young leader who had to mediate a game not involving their own teams. Each mediator held a pre match briefing with the two teams to emphasise fair play as there were no referees. Each team then had to decide on basic rules concerning throw ins, kick ins, where you could score from and whether they played corners. Then they decided on their own rules, with the Brazilians deciding to celebrate goals with the opposition! After each game the teams came together again, to discuss the game and to see, based on the game, whether they would award their opposition a fair play point. At the end of the tournament there would be a fair play prize and a winner, with fair play deemed the most important!
After my first mediation which was a fairly painless experience it was a quick dash to watch our WhizzKids who managed to beat Team Namibia 8-1, although this was a false dawn. In the remaining group stages, we drew one, lost four, but won two, including our highlight, a win against Brazil!!!
The team performed well in the group stage, although our kids were alot smaller than alot of the other teams, and while we had picked our teams on the most deserving rather than pure football ability, alot of the others seemed to have gone for the latter! It was definitely a challenge and great to see the kids playing in mixed gender teams. We just needed to ensure they passed to each other a bit more and did not take the losses so personally, but that is common in all kids! At least they followed all the fair play guidelines and made alot of friends both on and off the pitch with Lonwabo from Lamontville the star, scoring undoubtedly what was goal of the tournament; a shot from his own half that cannoned in off the underside of the bar!
In the Quarter Finals we were drawn against Altus sport, who we will be sharing a delegation with for Festival 2010. Unfortunately this was to be our last match, but at least we can take heart from the fat we lost to the eventual winners!
Then it was back to the school, to hold a closing ceremony, allowing the kids to sing and dance with their new found friends, exchange football shirts, hats and items from their own country, before an (early) night!
On Monday it was time to fly back. The kids had an amazing trip and were sad to leave their new rinds but think they were all glad to be going home to see their families and tell their friends about their once in a life time experience!
For the adults it was a chance to go home and get some rest. Let′s now get ready for Festival 2010 next year!
Insight into Cape Town trip - Pre tournament preparations
posted by Oli Walsh on 10 December 2009
Boarding a plane for the first time!
Boarding a plane for the first time!
The trip to Cape Town was a once in a lifetime for eight kids from the townships of Edendale and Lamontville. They were selected by their trainers for excellence throughout the programme and their attitude towards HIV issues, where we had seen some real behavioural change.
The trip started early with two trips co-ordinated with pick ups in Edendale and Lamontville to ensure they all got to the airport on time. It was their first trip to the airport for many, so once we had successfully negotiated security, it was time for them to get on their first ever aeroplane!
The kids were surprised by the speed at take off and then it was up into the air, with the kids pointing in disbelief and amazement that they were above the clouds! To see the joy and inquisitiveness on the kids’ faces was a real surprise, as plane travel is something that has become so normal in our everyday lives.
On arrival it was to the baggage carousel, again a totally new experience, before we were whisked through security to be met by George, the project coordinator for streetfootball world, who facilitate our membership of FIFA’s Football for Hope movement.
We were then whisked off to our base, a sports school just outside Cape Town and allocated our rooms, it was like bing back at univeristy! We had an informal welcoming with the teams followed by the draw for the tournament. The kids started to get to know their fellow delegations who had come from across South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Zambia and Brazil. Brazil seemed to be the most popular with all delegations, with one girl resembling Ronaldinho! They spoke no English yet the kids found their own unique ways of communicating.
Wednesday was an early start, with a knock on the door at 5am from one of our delegation to borrow a ball for training! This was followed by a knock at 6am to return the ball! Then it was off to the Waterfront for some team building activities before returning to base for some fair play football training. Two of our delegation missed out as they atteneded a photography course facilitated by Sony, but more on this later. In the evening we were treated to a number of cultural performances, with a focus on traditional dancing from the respective regions. Our Zulu dancing in traditional dress went down a treat, and in my opinion was the best!
Thursday and Friday was a chance for the kids to see some of Cape Town. They had a tour of Khayelistha on Thursday morning, while our coach Nobuhle took part in a Coerver coaching course, and of course the Football for Hope Centre. Then it was off to Cape Point, where it was very windy but suitably stunning! In the evening they had an open discussion forum, with kids telling of their experiences with drink, drugs and of course HIV. The stories were very moving and brought some people in the room to tears.
On Friday it was off to Table Mountain for the kids to get their first trip in a cable car and get the best view in all of Cape Town. They spent alot of time taking pictures with the cameras kindly donate by Sony, of Camps Bay and Green Point stadium and more importantly with all their new friends! They then held a final training session led by all the teams coaches who were newly qualified Coerver coaches! Then it was off to be for the big day, the tournament!!!!
Please come back soon for a run down on the tournament!
Proof that our programme works!
posted by Oli Walsh on 29 November 2009
I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday evening.
I just wanted to share with you a recent experience with some of the kids from our programme, on a car journey back from Edendale, which reinforced to me, although anecdotally, that our programme is having an impact.
As one of our trainers is getting married next year, I asked the kids what age they thought would be a good age to get married! Most of the kids agreed on around 30, although one boy said 88, which was a bit excessive.
However, after this the conversation moved to see if any of them had boyfriends or girlfriends, which is obviously a pre-requisite to getting married. It was then that I had been discussing with one child that he had a girlfriend. Firstly I was surprised that he opened up to me to tell me that he was already sexually active, at the age of 15. While this is not uncommon, it was more the ease at which he opened up. He then went on to say that he had been sexually active, but since participating in the WKU programme, had taken the decision to no longer be sexually active and was abstaining. This had not affected his relationship adversely and he was still with the same girlfriend.
Let′s hope for more positive stories in the future!
Build up to Cape Town
posted by Oli Walsh on 27 November 2009
Traditional Zulu Dancing
Traditional Zulu Dancing
Marcus was away in Jo′burg this week, attending one conference on sport and social change, as well as another conference led by Love Life. We will get more feedback next week, but have received some positive feedback from him and hope it leads to new partnerships and increased learnings for the future. We all need to work together to combat HIV! We will have a full de-briefing on his return to ensure all learnings are shared with all office staff.
On Thursday we had our final training session before the kids trip to Cape Town, where we gave them their new boots, which they were delighted with! They had a training session in their new shoes, then practiced their traditional Zulu dancing to the entire office in full traditional dress! On the way home we took them to visit the new Moses Mahbida stadium, which opens on Sunday (we tried to get tickets but it was all sold out!) so please look at our photos section for more footage from the day.
Our fundraising is going slowly but surely, and we are building our page on better place, so you can donate to specific items and specific projects. Please go and have a look through our needs through our website at http://www.whizzkidsunited.org/donate.php and click on the better place link. You can buy one football from 7 Euros! It makes a big difference to these kids.
Have a good weekend
Oli
Africaid Canada?!!
posted by Oli Walsh on 25 November 2009
This week we have a guest blog from our recent visitor, Dan Farrar, all the way from Canada! Please read about his experience with WhizzKids;

Hello WhizzKids-watchers!

My name is Dan Farrar; I am Tom′s cousin and I have been visiting Durban from Ontario, Canada. I have spent a very eventful ten days here, catching up with Tom and observing many of the facets of the WhizzKids programme. The staff here have been very welcoming and have integrated me into their organization, even though they knew I would be here only a very short time. I have been able to see the many stages of the core Life Skills programme in action, as well as the other activities that support it, such as the tournaments and the training for the FIFA Football for Hope launch. I had come expecting to see football (soccer to us Canucks!) used merely to generate interest from the kids who participated in the programme. However, I now see that the football training, the knowledge about HIV transmission, and the encouragement in setting goals are very tightly connected to each other throughout the programme. I believe the most important role of the football is to provide a memorable experience, different from normal classroom education, that helps embed the content of the training into the future choices made by the students.

Many people back home (friends, family and acquaintances of both Tom and myself) have expressed an interest in the work being done by Africaid. My goal, when I return to Canada, is to find a way to connect the talent and energy of these people to the work that is being done on the ground here in Durban. This will not be easy: Canada is a long way away from South Africa, geographically and culturally. On the other hand, I think that the challenge will make the effort more personally rewarding.

My hope is to find a compelling answer to the question "Why should it be both the interest and responsibility of Canadians to invest in HIV prevention research and education, half way around the world, especially in a relatively rich place like South Africa?" Part of the answer that has been shaping for me this week is that the methods used in the WhizzKids programme have the potential to make an impact across the whole continent, given enough distribution and exposure. That said, I will have a lot of thinking to do on my 30-hour return trip to Toronto!

Cheers,

Dan
Cape Town - Training Needed
posted by Oli Walsh on 20 November 2009
Dancing Practice
Dancing Practice
This week we had the eight kids going to Cape Town for the opening of the Football for Hope Centre into our office for their first training session. The idea was to get them to meet each other, as they were from different townships and different schools. They were accompanied by Nobuhle, one of our trainers, who had been rewarded with the trip for her excellent work in 2009.
The day did not start well at 6am. As we move into South African summer, you would have thought bright sun shine could be expected, but no, torrential rain and wind all day! This made the drive to Edendale a struggle and meant we could not practice outside all day, a change of plan was needed!
So we started with a refresher of the WKU programme in the boardroom, before the kids were taken to a nearby football centre where the kids could practice inside, where we were very kindly given the facilities for free. Led by ex professional footballer Paul Kelly (Manning Rangers), our new volunteer Matthias, with Marcus ensuring the kids were interacting as a team, the kids were great! Having been chosen for their attitude in class and dedication to the programme, rather than pure footballing ability, we were very pleased with the level of football and the speed at which they gelled as a team.
Then it was back to the office to practice their Zulu dancing for a 10 minute presentation to be given in Cape Town, practicing two songs. We still need to source the traditional dress, but think they will be a great success!
Lastly, we gave them interview practice. The kids who had been singing and dancing minutes earlier suddenly became quiet when our journalist for the day, Tom, started interrogating them. They came out of their shell after a while and made a pleasant change to the monotone footballers you have on the TV these days; “it was a game of two halves, well you never know, one game at a time….. etc!” Let′s hope with more practice next week they will become seasoned media professionals, they certainly have great stories to tell!
Then today, after a very kind donation from the UK, we were able to buy some football boots for the kids and Nobuhle, who will be taking part in a Coerver coaching course while in Cape Town, so they do not have to play barefoot!
We have one more practice session next week then it’s off to Cape Town, so please check back for updates and more pictures!!!
New website
posted by Oli Walsh on 13 November 2009
The front page of our new website.
The front page of our new website.
Hi again and thank you to Stefan for updating the blog in my abscence. I think it is great to get a view from everyone in our organisation. Have a look at our staff section on our NEW website and please let us know who else you would like to hear from! If we get special requests they will be more than happy to fill you in.

So this week, as you will know if you are reading this, we launched our new website. It has been a long time coming with alot of work put in by Stefan, so a big thank you to him!

Have a look around, let us know what you want us to add, let us know your favourite bits and if you spot any errors please let us know! We are also using google analytics to analyse the website, which is a great tool to check effectiveness of certain areas but also to track where our visitors come from. So far they have come from far and wide: Ethiopia, China, UK, USA and South Africa to name a few, so please help us add to them!

We also held our first training session with some of the kids going to Cape Town in December. It was great to see their football skills, talk to them about Cape Town (they are so excited!) and send them to a photo shoot at a Virgin Active Gym to be presented with a cheque from BDO for providing some funds for the trip! So a big thank you to BDO and Virgin Active!

We are still looking for funds so if anyone can help please let us know

Have a great weekend

Oli
Sorry for the lack of news!
posted by Oli Walsh on 23 October 2009
Dear All

Sorry for the lack of news, this has not been due to the fact that we have no news, it is down to the fact that we have been so busy that I have not had a chance to update it, but that is no excuse!

Stefan has returned, our first ever volunteer to return and is with us for a year, working alongside Paul as a programme co-ordinator which is great news for the organisation so please join me in welcoming him back.

Joining him yesterday was yet another German, Matthias, who is with us for six months, working as an events co-ordinator, amongst other things, so please join me in welcoming them.

This last week has seen another set of tournaments, with over 1200 kids participating in the last week, with another 6 tournaments scheduled for the next two weeks. So it was back to the old routine of early starts, slicing hundreds of rolls, making hot dogs, organising over excited kids into teams and controlling kids as you hand out their medals at the end of the day. The days are tiring but so worthwhile when you see the happiness it brings to the kids on their day of celebration at graduating from the programme!

So far we have had wins for South Korea, England and Ukraine (twice!), not sure it will be like that next year!

Until next week, have a good weekend and please feel free to add comments to the blog!

Oli
An insight from Zanele
posted by Oli Walsh on 5 October 2009
Dear All

Zanele has been working with us now for almost three months, based at our Centre of Excellence, assisting with life skills training at Clarence School and with a number of tasks around the office, including transalting our life skills materials into Zulu!

We thought we would get some insight from her:

My name is Zanele, a new recruit to WhizzKids. I am currently running our Life Skills programme at Clarence School in Durban.

As a young woman it interests me to be a part of this programme to teach our children who are still young. I have experienced a lot in my life so I would like to help them to achieve their goals without any disturbance. It is especially important for the young girls who are going into Grade 8 next year who will face a lot of new challenges at High School.

I think WhizzKids is a good programme in life to help the kids stay focused. Even their parents are not around with them but they must learn how to control themselves. It is up to me to tell them how we can achieve an HIV free generation!

Nisale kahle (stay well!)

Zanele
Another working week
posted by Oli Walsh on 18 September 2009
With Paul and Thilo off to Rustenburg and Marcus not back until Tuesday, the office was pretty quiet at the beginning of the week.

I filled in for Paul and did the weekly site visit to Edendale (Monday), Lamontville and Umlazi (Wednesday), to see the trainers, visit our existing schools and looking for new schools and ensuring our programme is being implemented correctly with all the relevant teaching materials. This was an opportunity to be out of the office (although most of it was spent in the car) and chance to be out in the field, actually seeing first hand the great work our trainers and us as an organisation are doing. It makes you appreciate that all the work that we put in, with long hours in the office, is all worthwhile!

The rest of the week was spent in the office, having meetings, looking at funding opportunities, researching ambassadors for our programme and making securing funds to build a football pitch a priority so it can be ready for the grand opening, hopefully in November, so if anyone has a spare $60,000 or so.......
Hectic Week
posted by Oli Walsh on 14 September 2009
So last week was slightly disrupted by tonsillitis!

It meant Wednesday and Thursday was spent in bed and extra work for everyone else in the office, with Paul valiantly stepping in at the last minute to go to Rustenburg with Thilo.

We loaded the bukkie on Friday with all the relevant equipment for four tournaments in Rustenburg (including one at a correctional facility), plus all the equipment needed for the HIV / AIDS conference in Botswana the week after as Tom and Marcus (now back from the UK) are going to meet them half way in Jo′burg!

The working week did not finish on Friday for the WhizzKids volunteers. On Saturday, Paul, Thilo and myself spent the rest of Saturday making final preparations, including trips to the office and Pavilion, but the highlight was definitely the hours spent cutting, threading and stapling ribbons for 900 medals!

Then Thilo and Paul spent all of Sunday driving to Rustenburg, let′s hope the tournaments go well, good luck!

Oli
Back to work.....
posted by Oli Walsh on 4 September 2009
So a big thank you to Jessica and Tom for filling in the blog in my abscence, while I was in the UK. This week has been my first full week back in the office and it has been pretty busy, particularly with Marcus away in the UK.

Firstly a big thank you to Henryk, our latest volunteer to leave, who had been here since March, primarily helping Tom on M&E but also Paul with managing the trainers and visitng the schools. He did a great job and will be sorely missed, boith in the office and aroudn the WhizzKids house! He has been replaced (not directly) by Thilo who has more of a communications backgroud nand has been helping out on the new website and ICC tournament due in November, as we ll as a few bits and pieces!

Alot of time has been spent catching up on emails but also looking at how we can work together better as a team, which seems to be goign pretty well so far. That asisde there is the ICC tournment in November, the Football for Hope Centre opening in December and lots of tournaments, with oru first in a correctiona lfacility teh week after next!

Have a good weekend, maybe we will get Thilo to contribute next week!

Oli
Hamba kahle!
posted by Oli Walsh on 11 August 2009
Hi everyone!

Hope you all had a great weekend! We here at WKU definitely did, with Sunday being National Women′s Day in South Africa, sending us all into different directions for the long weekend. Some of us went up north to visit St. Lucia, others chilled on the beaches in Durban, while I spent some time seeing friends in Cape Town!

Alas, it′s back to work today, and we′re as busy as always. We are lucky to welcome a new volunteer - Thilo! - who is here from Germany for 2 months and will be helping us out with our website and other media.

As for sOccket, last week was filled with many site visits to Edendale Life Skills trainings, Lamontville football practice and to the youth centre. It was great to get feedback - simply being here has informed me of so much and I truly appreciate WKU′s help and support during this pilot study!

Unfortunately, my time here has absolutely flown by, as I am leaving on Thursday to Paris to further develop this project. It′s been a pleasure sharing some of my experiences here with you and I hope you will consider coming out to join WKU in doing their awesome work!

All the best,

Jessica Lin
A Short but Busy sOccket Stay!
posted by Oli Walsh on 31 July 2009
Hi everyone!
My name is Jessica and I am here visiting WhizzKids United for a whirlwind 2.5 weeks from the US!

I am currently working on a project called the sOccket, a soccer ball that captures the energy of motion to store and charge LEDs and batteries. Marcus and his team were kind enough to invite me and my 6 prototypes here to get some feedback from the many children who go through the WhizzKids program. Next week will see more in-depth surveying as we head to Edendale and Lamontville, but the feedback so far has been positive!

In the few days that I have been here, I have already had the opportunity to do so much.Yesterday, Marcus took myself and Henryk on a road trip up to the Drakensbergs, where we had the chance to vist another NGO. It was a really great chance to see and hear about all their accomplishments.

These past few days have also allowed me to sit in on a number of WKU trainings, all of which have been a blast and really informative for me! I have to admit that I myself almost forgot the importance of having goals -- a no-goals game (or life!) is truly not as fun!

Thus, I′m excited to continue rolling out the project next week -- wish me luck!

Have a wonderful weekend,
Jessica
Vuvuzellas!
posted by Oli Walsh on 24 July 2009
Marcus returned from Australia this week, with really positive feedback about the implementation of our programme in an Aboriginal community, four hours North of Sydney, so another country that WhizzKids is now present in! Watch this space as we continue to roll out our programme, both in South Africa and into new countries!

The highlight of the week however was away from work, the Kaiser Chiefs against free spending Manchester City at the Absa Stadium, perhaps a taster for what it would be like at the World Cup next year. Nine of us went to the game, definitely a different crowd and atmosphere to the rugby games, with the deafening noises of the Vuvuzellas ringing out for the whole game.

When we arrived to sit in our seats, there were people already in them, who would not move! So after talking to stewards and supervisors, we were told they would not move and moved from our seats near the halfway line to behind the goal, next time we need to get there earlier as reserved seating seems to count for very little! The game itself was not that exciting, Manchester City winning 1-0, although the Chiefs had a great chance to equalise at the end, which was missed and was followed by the whole stadium calling for the player to be substituted and throwing items onto the pitch in disgust!!!!

Tonight it is a local rugby derby, Sharks v Bulls!!!
Demonstrations
posted by Oli Walsh on 17 July 2009
This week Marcus has been in Australia so we have been left to run the office!

So on Wednesday we went to Edendale to protest about the long waiting lists for ARV′s at the hospital and to remember those who had died while on the waiting list. We were unsure what to expect; how many people would turn up, would there be lots of police, what would the atmosphere be like, would it end in a riot?!

As it turns out, Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo had addressed a meeting at the hospital on Tuesday night, and promised that more staff would be employed at the hospital and that nurses at Edendale′s 17 feeder clinics would be trained to manage stable patients on ARVs to alleviate the burden on the hospital. So it was more a vigil and remembrance of the people who died and favour swayed in favour of Dhlomo, rather than against him. Henryk even made his own WhizzKids placard to protest (see pictures).

Then on Thursday we ran a tournament at Groutville, in Ilembe, who had been running a series of summer courses using our WKU life skills programme. Despite the predicted rain it was a beautifully sunny day, perfect tournament weather, unless you forget your sun cream! We left the house at 6.55am, arriving at 8am to set up goals for a 9am start. The tournament eventually started at 12, once all the kids arrived and were sorted into their teams. There were a record number of 0-0 draws but Spain ended victorious, probably because they had the biggest kids!!!
Back from holiday
posted by Oli Walsh on 10 July 2009
After two weeks in the UK, this is now my second day back in the office and alot has happened since I was gone!

Paul has disappeared on holiday to Europe for three weeks to coincide with the school holidays here and Marcus is off to Australia today to assist with the launch of our program in Aboriginal communities.

While I was gone, Marcus presented our project at the FIFA Football for Hope Forum in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, alongside UN Aids, with the presentation and workshops receiving positive feedback from all attendees. It was a great chance to meet other network members and important decision makers around the FIFA World Cup, so lets hope some new opportunities arise, both for the expansion of our project into new areas but also some new funding avenues.

We have also been running a holiday camp in Ilembe which Henryk has been overseeing in Paul′s absence, with a tournament next week to celebrate their graduation, It may be the start of tournament season again with six planned in the next few weeks so a chance for volunteers to get out of the office and interact with the kids that we are here to help!

Have a good weekend

Oli
Holidays and Volunteers
posted by Oli Walsh on 19 June 2009
This will be my last blog for a couple of weeks as I am off home to the UK, but will be back!

Marcus is also out of the office next week presenting on behalf of WKU at a FIFA conference in Jo′burg which should hopefully be an opportunity to showcase our programme to alot of key decision makers around the World Cup, so fingers crossed!

Then at the beginning of July Paul is off on holiday to Europe, which co-incides with the school holidays here! Lots of work to do but not enough people in the office!

As always we are on the lookout for more volunteers with empty desks in our offices that need filling! Jessica is coming from Harvard for a couple of weeks to test a new football related project she is developing and then we have Thilo from Germany coming in August. That aside our next volunteers are due in October, so if you want to come join us let us know!
US Soccer team
posted by Oli Walsh on 12 June 2009
Yesterday, ten kids from our programme in Rustenburg took part in a training session with the US Soccer team, who are here for the Confederations Cup, in Pretoria.

The kids were recent graduates from the programme and ′won′ the chance by presenting in assembly to their peers, motivations as to why they should go! The ten lucky winners were driven on the two hour trip by Peter from the Department of Education, nothing compared to the 14 hour round trip that Marcus and I undertook!

The kids got a free McDonald′s and watched a 90 minute training session with stars like Landon Donovan and Tim Howard, before getting the chance to meet the players, take pictures, get autographs and talk to them about our programme! The star of the day was ′Lucky′ who managed to get a photo with nearly every player! It will definitely live long in the memory of the kids and their signed shirts will be the envy of all their classmates!

The kids had a great time, so was definitely worth the trip, so a big thank you to the US team.
Confederations Cup is nearing
posted by Oli Walsh on 5 June 2009
It was an early start to the week on Monday (5am), to take Paul to the airport, off to monitor our new programme with One to One Children′s fund in Rustenburg. He reported back that the project is going well, with 700 kids through the programme and in a new element to the programme, over 100 kids from the new correctional facility!

We also have the Confederations Cup coming to South Africa, so the kids from Rustenburg will get a once in a lifetime chance to attend a training session with the US National team in Pretoria, and fingers crossed a training session with the All whites, the New Zealand football team!

Aside from that we have the British and Irish Lions coming to these shores to play Rugby, we have been very lucky with all the top sporting events, so some of us are going to see them play the local Sharkies this week.

Okay, its the weekend now, so we are off, have a good weekend!
New Office!!!!
posted by Oli Walsh on 29 May 2009
So all the tournaments finally finished on Tuesday. Iran, Mexico and Scotland all winning tournaments, something which is unlikely to happen in the near future! The kids (and their teachers) all had a great time, and bar a few on field fights managed to follow FIFA′s fair play initiative and self referee their games!

In total over 1500 happy boys and girls took part, 1602 hot dogs and rolls were cut, filled and handed out, with over 3,000 goals scored! Thanks to all the WKU volunteers who are glad the early mornings are over, a s well as all our trainers, teachers and random volunteers including bodyguards!

We then all moved into our new office, with Marcus and myself in one room, Tom and Henryk in the other and Paul sitting on his own front of house until we can get a receptionist! It really is a great site and will help us move forward as an organisation as well as giving us the chance to enjoy lunch time football breaks!

We will post some pictures soon, but feel free to come visit!
Tournaments, tournaments and more tournaments
posted by Oli Walsh on 22 May 2009
You guessed it, lots more tournaments this week, so early starts, but days out of the office in the sunshine are always good, and its great to see the enthusiasm of the kids who have enjoyed the programme.

I won′t bore you by taking you through each tournament, but over 1000 kids have taken part in tournaments this weeks, which means over 1000 hot dog rolls have been sliced and viennas put in, 4 boys and 1 girl have been named player of the tournament, 1250 medals have been handed out, 60 goals have been put up (then taken down again) and over 1200 goals (some disputed!) have been scored. So thank you everyone for their help, the kids really appreciate it!

While these were going on, work continued in the WhizzKids World, Tom donned a shirt and tie and met the Department of Education, Marcus continued to put the finishing touches to the office which we move into next week and the Health Academy looks like it is nearing completion!

The (not sure about the spelling), a local recruit, has also joined the team to work with Marcus′s team so join me in welcoming him and wishing him luck.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the new photos.
World Cup Final: Iran beat Angola on penalties....
posted by Oli Walsh on 17 May 2009
So the first week of tournaments started badly, with the school postponing the first two as they were ′unaware′ of the tournaments, despite the Principal being told, so only one tournament last week!

The day started at 5.00, packing up the Buckie, and heading out to Edendale via the Wild Bean Cafe for a bit of breakfast. The first struggle was working how to put together the goals, but once this was done it was plain sailing!

Instead of the traditional format of 32 managers and all WhizzKids staff, we moved to a streamline approach, with three trainers and three WKU staff, plus the assistance of the teachers, some more helpful than others. there were doubts as to whtehr the FIFA fair play self refereeing would work, but apart from a few dubious decisions and a few tears from some kids, it worked out well.

England went out on penalties again, no surprise there, but the real surspirse was a final contested by Iran and Angola, not likely to be seen in South Africa in 2010, which went to penalties, which Iran duly won! Then it was up to the principal to give out ALL 192 medals to the kids, who had all had a great day out from school.

So eight down, 7 more to go, one every day next week......
Marcus still away.....
posted by Oli Walsh on 8 May 2009
So Marcus jetted from Rustenburg direct to London to speak at the House of Commons, and is flying back on Saturday, so has been away for nearly 2 weeks.

We did welcome back Paul, who was relieved to be back in civilization, but Daniela has still not returned, we will wait and see......

Tom has nearly finished his monster research proposal, which at last count was 26 pages, and we are gearing up for 8 World Cup tournaments in 2 weeks, as well as the usual demands!

Praying for some sunshine this weekend to go to the beach as it has been uncharecteritcally rainy here recently, not fun!!!!
Three Day Week
posted by Oli Walsh on 1 May 2009
So this day was a three day week, unfortunately the last of the public holidays in South Africa for a while!

With Paul and Marcus away in Rustenburg, it was just me Henryk and Tom holding the fort for the week.

The big thing is that work has started on the centre of excellence, otherwise known as our new office, which will be ready in less than 2 weeks!

Marcus is off to talk at the House of Commons in London this week and we have all our World Cup tournaments coming up so a busy week ahead.

Enjoy your weekend

p.s. Tom beat Henryk at tennis to become champion of 313 Clark Road
Election Week
posted by Oli Walsh on 24 April 2009
So this week were the elections in South Africa, which meant a day off (in theory) for the volunteers, as South Africans cast their vote ′in the closest election in years′. Realistically it is not close and the ANC will win (with results due next week) and most volunteers were working on their day off, Tom writing a proposal, Borat inputting 1000 contacts into the database and Marcus and I moving furniture!

The end of the week has also been hectic as Paul and Marcus are off to Rustenburg for 14 days to launch a new programme with One to One where we hope to have an extra 2000 children through in a year, including a new facet to the programme by implementing it in a correctional facility!

Lastly there is another holiday on Monday, so Tom and Henryk are driving to Cape Town, they have estimated 12 hours but we think it will be nearer to 20, lets see!

Enjoy your weekend

p.s. I have added a new picture of the Health Academy, it will be ready in 90 days!
WKU back with lots of new faces
posted by Oli Walsh on 17 April 2009
So the WhizzKids Volunteers have been offline, many returning home, but the team leaders of Marcus, Tom and Paul still remain!

They have now been joined by Oli, from the UK, Henryk (who bears a striking resemblance to Borat) from Germany and Daniela from Switzerland, ranging from 2 months to 18 months. So the house is a real United Nations, all just getting used to the hot weather and spending their weekends at the beach………

Since our last blog everyone has been super busy and there have been lots of exciting developments. We have exhibited at the National HIV /AIDS conference at the ICC Durban, with 4,500 attendees, 600 of which played our spot the ball competition, the winner receiving a South Africa football shirt!

We have re-done (or are in the process of finishing) all our teaching materials, having run a training day with our trainers to get feedback on the new changes.

Finally, we have started building our first health academy, an informal clinic with football pitch (what else) to provide an easily accessible clinic for testing, counselling and professional medical services in Edendale.

Have a great weekend wherever you are and if you want to come out and volunteer then let us know!
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December 2012 (1 post)November 2012 (4 posts)October 2012 (4 posts)September 2012 (3 posts)August 2012 (2 posts)July 2012 (3 posts)June 2012 (2 posts)May 2012 (2 posts)April 2012 (4 posts)March 2012 (4 posts)February 2012 (5 posts)January 2012 (2 posts)

2011

December 2011 (5 posts)November 2011 (5 posts)October 2011 (5 posts)September 2011 (8 posts)August 2011 (7 posts)July 2011 (8 posts)June 2011 (6 posts)May 2011 (3 posts)April 2011 (5 posts)March 2011 (9 posts)February 2011 (8 posts)January 2011 (6 posts)

2010

December 2010 (4 posts)November 2010 (3 posts)October 2010 (6 posts)September 2010 (6 posts)August 2010 (6 posts)July 2010 (9 posts)June 2010 (5 posts)May 2010 (4 posts)April 2010 (10 posts)March 2010 (8 posts)February 2010 (4 posts)January 2010 (2 posts)

2009

December 2009 (5 posts)November 2009 (6 posts)October 2009 (2 posts)September 2009 (4 posts)August 2009 (2 posts)July 2009 (4 posts)June 2009 (3 posts)May 2009 (5 posts)April 2009 (2 posts)February 2009 (1 post)January 2009 (1 post)

2008

December 2008 (1 post)November 2008 (1 post)October 2008 (1 post)

2007

November 2007 (1 post)October 2007 (1 post)September 2007 (1 post)June 2007 (1 post)May 2007 (2 posts)

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