This past weekend, on the 15th and 16th of October, the Health Academy staff travelled to Durban to run an HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign. Nike invited us to join them at their Nike Elite Training Open Trials event and provide our HCT services to the youth. The Nike Elite Training Open Trials is an event organized by Nike to select young football stars, between the ages of 16 to 19 years old, to attend Nike’s Elite Training program in December.
Nike had a team of coaches at the event who were responsible for recruiting the most talented football players while they watched them display their skills playing football. Two former football stars, Eric Tinkler and Shaun Bartlett, joined the Nike team as coaches and it was exciting to work alongside them at this event. It was a busy day for our Health Academy staff, filled with a lot of testing and football watching!
We arrived early Saturday morning and set-up our gazebos and testing stations. Members of the Nike team welcomed all event participants as well as our WhizzKids United team. Then Busisiwe Madondo greeted the event participants, introduced WhizzKids United and spoke about the services we render.
Throughout the day, kids came to our gazebos for HCT. We took their blood pressure, performed HIV testing and counselling, and distributed condoms. Some of the athletes were reluctant to be tested prior to playing football, so we made sure to educate them on the importance of knowing their status and encouraged them to come back to be tested after they finished playing football for the day. We told them in order to be soccer stars, they need to stay healthy and take care of themselves and their bodies.
It was a successful HCT Campaign. Between the two days, we saw many of the event participants. On Saturday, we did HIV testing on 47 athletes and blood pressure testing on 56 athletes. On Sunday, we tested even more. We performed HIV testing on 80 athletes and blood pressure testing on 121 athletes.
Although it was a busy weekend for the staff at WhizzKids United, the campaign was great. We were happy to partner with the Nike team and work with the young football stars.
Photo courtesy of Back Page Pix. Check here for more pictures from the Nike Elite Training Open Trials event.
On Wednesday last week the Health Academy were lucky enough to be visited by Sfiso Mtolo and Dumisa Zondi from KwaZulu-Natal YMCA. They were visiting to conduct a workshop with our staff in order that we could learn how to start and run a Support Group, particularly for the adolescents who are registered with us and are HIV positive, but also in the future so that we will be able to provide Support Groups for the wider community and families of the children who access our services.
Dumisa and Sfiso have vast experience in community development, and particularly the HIV and AIDS field and therefore we were very grateful for them taking the time to visit us.
The workshop covered all aspects of Support Groups, such as:
- How to start a good Support Group
- How do we sustain our Support Group
- Challenges that we will face
- Different types of Support Groups
- The rules that must be obeyed in order to ensure the Support Groups run effectively and confidentiality remains.
We will continue with these workshops this week. I am extremely grateful as I feel I have learnt a lot and I believe Support Groups will really enhance the work that we do at the Health Academy, so I am very glad that we will have these services available for the kids.