Unforgettable six month with WhizzKids United
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 3 May 2011
WhizzKids clan
WhizzKids clan

It seems like it was yesterday when I packed my stuff, said goodbye to my friends and family in Germany and started into my adventure in South Africa. Unbelievable but true, my six exciting months in this remarkable country are almost over and as soon as you get used to the South African life, you have to say goodbye to country, colleagues and friends.

I would lie if I wouldn’t admit that my experiences with WhizzKids United as well as my South African life affected me. Besides my language improvement South Africa taught me that you don’t need to do a lot to make a change in people’s lives. At this point it is always difficult to say what influenced me in particular and in which ways it affected me as a person. As I also realized during my stay in this developing country – progress and change needs time. Due to this fact I will primarily notice at home – back in my usual habitat - how the South African culture, my work with WhizzKids United and also the life away from the WhizzKids office influenced me.

I just can say that I enjoyed every single moment of this wonderful journey. There have been so many highlights of my stay mention all of them would go beyond the scope. My Road Trip from Durban to Cape Town was certainly one of them. All the good times and the friends I made make it really hard to leave, but I will leave South Africa with a suitcase brimmed with unforgettable experiences and moments and the promise that I will come back one day!

Thank you all for making my trip becoming a once in a lifetime experience! It was a pleasure.

WhizzKids United`s Awareness and Fundraising campaign Walk for a good cause!
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 20 April 2011
East Coast Radio Big Walk 2011
East Coast Radio Big Walk 2011

Durban’s biggest and coolest event, The East Coast Radio Discovery Big Walk is taking place on May 22 and WhizzKids United makes use of this Durban placed event to raise awareness about our work and to raise funds. We are looking for Walkers who would like to join us as part of “Team WhizzKids United.” It’s more a grassroots-campaign in terms of encouraging and activating people in our environment and we hope we get mobilized the Durbanites to walk for the WhizzKids United team and a good cause.

Steps to join the WhizzKids United team:

All you need to do is register for the event online here or at any of these Total Sports Outlets.  You will be able to choose between walking 5km (R55), 10km (R60.50), 15 km (R71.50) or 20 km (R71.50).  Closing dates for entry to the event is May 6 so please register for the event before that.

Once you have registered online or at one of the Total Sports Stores you will receive a reference number.  If you would like to pledge support to WhizzKids United and join our team on the day, please “follow this link” – www.whizzkidsunited.org/BigWalk to register on our website.

During this short registration process you have the option to purchase a WhizzKids United t-shirt for R75 which you can wear on the day of the event to show support for WhizzKids United.  You can collect and pay for the t-shirt either at our offices (office hours from 8.30am to 5pm) or at UShaka Marine World on the morning of the event.  Buyinh a t-shirt is optional!!! We do not require you to buy one to join us for the day but we do encourage you to register on our website so we know how many supporters we can expect on the day. Once you have registered on our website you will receive a confirmation email which outline in more detail the payment options, meeting points and other useful information.

WhizzKids United is looking forward to having you in the team.

WhizzKids United`s speech at the Black & Ethnic Minority Health Section in England
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 12 April 2011
Jabu Zulu at the WhizzKids United Health Academy
Jabu Zulu at the WhizzKids United Health Academy

WhizzKids United will attend the Black & Ethnic Minority Health Section at the conference ''Sex, STIs and Stigma: Challenges for HIV-positive Adolescents in the United Kingdom and Africa''. The section takes place on the 27th of June 2011 in the holy halls of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, England.  Jabu Zulu, our WhizzKids United Health Academy Programme Manager will have the honour to speak about the first eventful year of our adolescent friendly Health clinic in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg. 

Our WhizzKids United Health Academy serves an exclusively adolescent patient population with vital clinical services such as HIV testing, counselling, treatment and management of sexually transmitted diseases, administration and management of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment, and psycho-social support groups for kids living with HIV/AIDS.  Beside the health services our WhizzKids United Health Academy also features a football pitch and computer resource centre, and offer other services such as Mixed Gender football leagues, homework clubs, career guidance, and educational videos.

It will be Jabu Zulu`s first journey to Europe and the United Kingdom.  She is already excited and can’t wait to do a sightseeing tour around London.  `I am already thinking about the content of my presentation and I am always in search of meaningful pictures I can use to make my presentation more visual and touchable to the audience.  I am really looking forward to this trip´.

The respected adolescent sexual health specialist Dr. Tomas Campell who has worked with WhizzKids United for years will also be one of the guest speakers.  He is convinced that `WhizzKids Health Academy is a beacon of hope and expertise with regards to what CAN be achieved by innovation, flexibility and the will to make a difference to the lives of South Africa's young people’. WhizzKids United is proud and grateful about this opportunity.  We are all looking forward to this event and even when we can’t be present we will send her our support straight from Durban, South Africa to Jabu on the stage!  Congratulations and Good luck!

Former WhizzKids United volunteer shows noble effort
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 5 April 2011
Daniel in front of the WKU office
Daniel in front of the WKU office

Our former Media and Event Coordinator Daniel Schoeberl from Germany has had his blog ''Curious - Sport mal anders'', which focuses on sport for development, shortlisted for the Superblog 2011 competition. If he wins, he will donate the prize money to WhizzKids United! The first prize is 250 Euro, the second best sport blog wins 150 Euro and the third prize is 100 Euro.

Daniel joined the Operations team last year and supported WhizzKids United for six months. `I got to know the team, the organisation and the work they do very well and that’s the reason why I am 100 percent convinced the WhizzKids United is the right address for my prize money´. WhizzKids United would like to ask you to support Daniels blog and his noble effort. All we/he need/s is your vote for his blog Curious - Sport mal anders!

Voting Instructions:

1. Follow the link http://svy.mk/gPGSYz 2. Click on the button “Weiter” until you get to a page which says “Kategorie: Sport” as the heading (should be 7 clicks) 3. Scroll down the page until you come across a link which reads “Sport Mal Anders”. On the le...ft side of the link you need to click on the CIRCLE to select the “Sport Mal Anders” blog. 4. Then continue clicking “Weiter” until you come to a final page where there is a check box called “Fertig”. Click this and you have voted for the blog and supported WhizzKids United

WCCF staff learning from WhizzKids United!
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 29 March 2011
Phumlani and Slindile running our Life Skills programme in Northern ethekwini
Phumlani and Slindile running our Life Skills programme in Northern ethekwini

West Coast Community Foundation (WCCF) is an NGO operating in the West Coast region of South Africa. Over the last two years a partnership between WCCF and Africaid made it possible for the WhizzKids United “On the Ball” programme to be implemented in the West Cape. In an effort to strengthen ties between Africaid and WCCF and ensuring that WhizzKids United remains in the Western Cape; Jeremy Maarman and Lesline Timotheus visited Africaid from 23 – 25 March 2011.

The purpose of the trip was to see how WhizzKids United is implemented in two schools in KwaZulu Natal, since the West Coast programme is currently implemented after school and at youth clubs. We were able to talk to very passionate principals and teachers, but above all we have been very impressed by the efforts of the WhizzKids trainers who displayed such humility and professionalism in their dealings with the young people. We are so proud of these trainers (the one’s we met) and want to congratulate the Africaid team for discovering such passionate and committed young people.

We are now pleased to share that we will continue with WhizzKids United in schools in the West Coast region. A massive thank you to the entire Africaid team for ensuring that our stay in Durban was most enjoyable.


Jeremy and Lesline

South Africa: Creative Approaches to Control the AIDS Epidemic
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 22 March 2011
Sophie joined the WKU football fun.
Sophie joined the WKU football fun.

This blog entry is written by Sophie Tepler, 9th Grade. Sophie visited South Africa and WhizzKids United together with her father Isidore Teplar in March 2010. Isidore Teplar is one of our supporters from the United States of America.

During last year’s spring break, I traveled with my dad to South Africa. Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the Institute for AIDS Research at Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital, invited us to spend time with him and his collaborators in South Africa. Our base was in Durban on the east coast. I had the great privilege to interact full time, for more than a week, with the extraordinary people that are trying to fight the illness and poverty that plague South Africa. More than half of the world’s HIV/AIDS population lives in Africa, 63% of whom are children. In South Africa only 10% of people with AIDS are receiving life-saving antiretroviral drugs.

There are three programs in particular that have taken creative approaches to deal with this daunting situation. The first is located at an AIDS and TB ward at Edendale hospital, which is often called the “ground zero” of the South African AIDS epidemic because it is the largest government treatment site.. 90% of people hospitalized at Edendale have TB and AIDS and only about 40% will survive their hospitalization. At Edendale, in addition to traditional doctors they are using “TB warriors” to combat the spread of disease. These “warriors” have no formal medical training but they know a sick person when they see one, so they identify and “fast track” the sickest patients amongst the hundreds of people that come to the hospital clinic each day. A major breakthrough was when local traditional healers were integrated into the system. These healers are trusted in the community and speak Zulu. They have been given certification to be AIDS/TB counselors, and they bring the sick people in the townships to the hospital. All of these strategies: the use of Zulu counselors, the outreach programs, the use of triage warriors, were thought up by iTeach – Integration of TB Education and Care for HIV/AIDS. Two remarkable women run the program: Krista Dong, an American trained doctor from our neighbor town of Wilton, CT, and Zinlhe Tabethe, born in Durban.

Africaid Whizzkids United: uses soccer as a metaphor to teach life skills and health lessons. In soccer, just like in life, you need to set goals and make a plan, and have the motivation to carry it out. You need to pick the right teammates. All of these are important to win in soccer but also to succeed in life. Soccer is the most important sport in South Africa, and it was the site of the last World Cup Tournament just two months after our visit. The Africaid Whizzkids counselors visited the public schools of KZN once a week, at the end of their classes. These kids are at the beginning of adolescence when, of course, risk of catching AIDS is just beginning The kids debate very frank subjects such as: whose responsibility it is to make sure contraception is used; or whether boys can have 2 girlfriends, but not the reverse. The girls debated at least as fiercely as the boys- I was proud of them! And of course, we played some great soccer!

CAPRISA – Center for AIDS Program of Research In South Africa funds on–the-ground projects, rather than laboratory research. Its headquarters is at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine, where we met with the co-director of the program, and, Mendesa, whose grant proposal had just been funded. Mandesa’s proposal was to set up a learning and counseling center for AIDS Orphans at the site of her mother’s home and burial ground. Even after apartheid ended, the newly elected black leaders of South Africa denied that AIDS was a problem in their country. At an official conference where the President of South Africa was meeting with another Head of State, Mandesa’s mother publicly announced that she had AIDS. When she returned to her township, she was stoned to death. Mandesa had to run away to Johannesburg and was raised by a pastor and his wife and was now returning to the townships of Kwazulu Natal to carry out her mission. We visited AIDS orphans in what look like regular homes with women who act like regular moms to these babies.. At the Lamontville township you can see the bare-bones shelters that people live in. I volunteered at the regular school taught in English, and visited the Sunday school where Bible skits were translated into Zulu for the preschool kids, who had not yet learned English in school.

This trip was, for me, an amazing, life-changing experience. After growing up in Fairfield County, my exposure to this other world of poverty and sub-standard health-care was initially very difficult and shocking , but I feel that I am still absorbing these experiences whenever I think back on them. Knowing there are so many creative and caring people working on these problems gives me great optimism for the future. I now truly understand why young people like me, who have had it so good in life, should aspire to help the less fortunate in a different part of the world. Our lives will be enriched at least as much as those of the people we are helping and befriending


New website section: Phumlani`s Playbook
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 15 March 2011
Phumlani Stan
Phumlani Stan

Finally our Life Skills trainer Phumlani Stan has his personal blog section on our WhizzKids United website! In Phumlani`s Playbook he will provide news and stories about his work and his experiences as a Life Skills trainer in Northern eThekwini every second week. Phumlani joined the WhizzKids United team in November 2010. Since then he and his co-worker Slindile have run our Life Skills programme successfully in the schools in the area of Northern eThekwini. One of the determining factors for Phumlani`s Playbook was that he is intrigued by writing and filming as well as interested in photography. Due to this he will also get the opportunity to visualize his experiences and bring them together into a video blog. Phumlani`s Playbook will give you a detailed and personal insight in the everyday work of one of our Life Skills trainers. All I can say is we are excited about this new intiative, so don’t miss his first blog release in the beginning of next week!

Take one...and...Action!
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 8 March 2011
Changing the Game documentary - Behind the scenes
Changing the Game documentary - Behind the scenes

This week will be completely different to my everyday work over the last 4 month and I am excited about these new experiences I will gain. Today, an American film team is coming in town to shoot a documentary about WhizzKids United or rather about our Life Skills programme in Lamontville. WhizzKids United, Grassroots Soccer and the Peres Centre for Hope are all organizations that will be featured in this documentary called Changing the Game.  Shilpi and her crew will accompany two young girls, Zime and Siphumelele by running our Life Skills programme in a group of twenty children in the Lamontville. Both girls participated in the FIFA Football for Hope Festival last year and represented the South African team. Our Life Skills trainer Sithule worked twice a week with the girls to teach them how to utilize the 6 session manual and to become an advanced Peer Educator.

Yesterday Paul and I visited the venue in Lamontville and watched their final practical-run through of Session 1 before the kids start attending today. Beyond that we briefed the kids about the activities that will take place in the next week and tried to take their fear off the camera and the film crew by encouraging them and telling them that this documentary goes to Hollywood or at least it will shown on international film festivals. Finally we handed out kits for each player and the delicious peanut butter sandwiches ensured even more motivation and honestly how couldn’t you be motivated now? The kids showed us their gratefulness in their own language by singing and dancing in their new outfits. Everything is well-prepared though kids and trainers can’t wait to become international film stars!

In addition to the incidents in Lamontville I will accompany Stefan to a WhizzKids presentation on Thursday at the Vega brand communications School in Durban in front of a bunch of graphic and media design students. WhizzKids United is part of a course of the students. To gain practical experiences they have to have to deal with real clients. We already had a meeting with the lecturers on Monday to see what is possible and in which direction the students might go, so that we have a win-win situation in the end. In this regard eighteen students will work individually on a sub page for our website on the WhizzKids United Health Academy. In the end we will have eighteen different versions and designs and maybe one will hit the spot and the taste of our management team and get launched. It’s a strange and also a funny feeling for me to be on the other side now and try to make clear which expectations WhizzKids United has. It’s only one year ago that I was sitting in these courses and working on “real projects for real clients”. Anyway I am really looking forward to this week and the final results either projects!

Social media workshop with our trainers
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 2 March 2011
WhizzKids United and Social media
WhizzKids United and Social media

Social media has quickly become a growing marketing tool for the business world. We also recognized that these useful gifts play a big part in marketing nowadays. Social media marketing gives WhizzKids United the opportunity to extend our international network, to spread out our mission in the world and maybe the most important fact for us as a nonprofit organization, to market WhizzKids United for free or rather on a low budget. According to that I did a social media introduction workshop with our trainers last week. Because not only the Marketing Director and the Media and Event Coordinator should know the advantages and chances of social media but also WKU staff and in particular our Life Skills trainers should at least have an overview about the possibilities. Our trainers work with the kids in the schools, so they are present when the change happens which means they beat the whole office team in telling the best stories! All these success stories are just waiting to be told!! In this regard I gave the really interested group of trainers a short introduction on our Social media workaday life or rather in “You-Bloggin-Twitt-Face”. WhizzKids United's work features on different platforms mainly on facebook, twitter, youtube and of course on our WhizzKids United website. Beside the daily updates we feed our online community with polls as well as with pictures and videos about our work in the townships, the programme itself, football and a lot more. Now our trainers got an impression of the social media work we do and of the importance they play by presenting WhizzKids United from different points of view. I am convinced that one or the other trainer will share their sweeping stories, pictures and videos in the near future with you I am already looking forward to these days. If you are a WhizzKids follower on facebook and twitter you will definitely be informed about current actions!

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.

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!

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!!

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!

Farewells, Welcomes and Good Intentions for 2011
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 18 January 2011
The beautiful game, thats life
The beautiful game, thats life

Our WhizzKids United staff for the first quarter of 2011 is almost full! Last week we had to say goodbye to our German volunteer Michael. He had to leave WhizzKids United for new tasks beyond the organization. Among other things he was in charge for our Mixed Gender League at our Health Academy in Edendale. WhizzKids United wants to say thank you for your input and your boundless commitment in ‘Delivering excellence in HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support to youth worldwide through the medium of football’. We wish you all the best for your coming tasks. We miss you greatly!

In the same breath we welcome our new volunteer Thomas from London, England. He will support the Operations team and share his knowledge of finances and accounting with WhizzKids United for the next three months. We are happy to have you here! Furthermore we expect two new volunteers by the end of next week. We are waiting with great anticipation for Erica and Lauren!

In addition to the coming staff changes everybody looks forward to the start of the new school year on Wednesday. All the staff are working and planning at full speed! In this context our program team is on tour for the next couple of weeks. Tour Stops are Rustenburg, where Stefan and Aled are running a one week workshop with our Life Skills Trainers before Marlen accompanies Stefan for another one week workshop to the Western Cape. Beyond that we have some site visits this week to our partner schools in Umlazi and North Ethekwini on our to-do-list. More over we develop a social media strategy for the organisation. One of our main goals is to increase the number of WhizzKids United supporters around the world through various online platforms. We are always looking for new volunteers, new partners and sponsorships which are necessary to extend our programme. We have been focusing on Facebook and Twitter and provide daily news, pictures and videos about our work in townships, the program itself, football and a lot of more. If you are one interested in our program feel free to join us on Facebook or Twitter, write comment and upload pictures or whatever you want to do.

WhizzKids United Volunteers exploring South Africa
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 11 January 2011
Aled, Michael and me enjoy our Mince Pie on Christmas
Aled, Michael and me enjoy our Mince Pie on Christmas

Aleds, Michaels and my holiday road trip started on the 18th of December in Durban and took us 19 days and more than 3000 kilometres along the coast to Cape Town. Fortunately we explored South Africa by car so we were able to see a lot of this fabulous and colourful country. We stopped in Port St. Jones, Coffee Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay, Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Buffalo Bay, Hermanus and Stellenbosch before we finally arrived in Cape Town where we spent one amazing week. We celebrated New Years Eve on the rooftop of our backpackers overlooking downtown Cape Town.

On our journey we drove through beautiful landscapes and small rural towns, stopped at beautiful beaches and saw stunning houses and neighbourhoods. All this has opened my eyes and showed me how huge the gap between poor and rich in this country still is and puts into perspective the work that we are doing. Furthermore I was really surprised by the variety of nature which South Africa offers. On our trip we experienced the diversity of South Africa. We caught some waves in Jeffreys Bay and Coffee Bay. We visited the green and hilly Wine Country, which honestly look pretty similar to the German vineyards. We hiked up to the top of Table Mountain and watched the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. We explored downtown Cape Town, went shopping, did sightseeing and of course, we got to know Cape Town by night.

All in all, I had an unforgettable journey through a stunning and exciting country. We met a lot of interesting people and spots and I would recommend this trip to any potential WhizzKids United volunteer. Take your time to see the beauty of South Africa. I am very glad that I got the chance to make this trip and I just want to say a big thank you to my two handsome companions and WhizzKids United volunteers, Aled and Michael.  It was a pleasure to travel with you and to spend Christmas and New Years together. I definitely had a lot of fun with you guys - lakka bru`s!

And the Monthly Photo Competition Honour goes to Germany
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 13 December 2010
Winning shot of Marlen
Winning shot of Marlen

Our Monthly Photo Competition for November on our Facebook Poll is finished and the winner has been decided.  Congratulations to our German volunteer Marlen - great shot.  She has taken the winning picture on one of our Tournaments in Umlazi last month. Every staff member has to upload pictures which were taken by themselves and in the current month. Afterwards our WhizzKids United Facebook members can vote for their favourite picture.

You didn’t know where and how to vote?

Check out our Facebook page and become a WhizzKids United Fan. All you have to do is click on the “Like” button and then you are able to vote on our poll.  We are looking forward to our next Monthly Photo Competition and I hope that you will support us voting for your favourite picture in the beginning of January again. Our staff will upload their favourite holiday shots. It's going to be very international. You can expect pictures from America, Germany, Scotland, Mozambique and last but not least, South Africa.

Two exciting Tournament Days in Umlazi
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 30 November 2010
Kids celebrating their victory
Kids celebrating their victory

After my first office week my German Volunteer colleagues (Marlen and Micheal) and I got the chance to support Stefan and our Life Skills Trainer Siphelele with our Tournament for the Emthethweni Primary School in one of the biggest Townships close to Durban, called Umlazi. It was the first time for us visiting a township and we were shocked about the dimensions. According to Wikipedia Umlazi is home for more than 500.000 people who live in very poor conditions. Moreover I was surprised by the warmth and the joy of the children. After each goal the kids started singing and dancing. I will never forget the moment when I stood in a crowd of kids and all were singing the South African anthem and different Zulu songs. For me, it’s hard to imagine that German kids of this age would react as they did.

On Wednesday we ran the tournament only for Grades five and six. More than 200 children joined the fun and each of them was extremely motivated and ambitious to win the World Cup! We counted the children and split them into 32 teams, but that is not as easy as you think! For this amount of young kids you have to be well organized and you need a good connection to kids. But because of that I was very fascinated with Siphelele’s relaxed and sensitive way while working with the kids. At the end of the tournament Greece was the lucky winner and able to take the World Cup home. On this day North Korea received the silver medal and team Algeria was chosen for the Fair Play trophy.

The first problem we had to deal with on the next morning was the weather. As so often in recent days it was raining so that the principal called the tournament for the children of seventh grade off. But after  a weather check and an assessment of the field we convinced the principal to run the tournament. Wise decision, it stayed dry! Team USA beat Nigeria and team Serbia was able to take the Fair Play trophy home. All in all we ran two successful tournaments in Umlazi. I enjoyed the time with the kids and I think the children had also a great time. Afterwards I can say that the tournament in Umlazi was a great experience and I am very grateful that WhizzKids United gave me the opportunity to gain these unforgettable experiences!

My first days in Durban
posted by Sarah Koelsch on 16 November 2010
This is me.
This is me.

Last Thusday I left my parents and friends in Germany for my adventure South Africa, a 6-month voluntary placement for WhizzKids United. After my 5 hour Stop-over in Dubai and the 9 hour flight to Durban I arrived at my new home. I was very exhausted and also quite excited to meet my new roommates. They greeted me warmly and I felt immediately at home.

My first days in the office were very interesting, because I got a detailed insight into the work of WhizzKids United and into the different projects they work on. And of course I got an introduction to my potential role in the team. I will be the Media and Event Coordinator! It’s a completely new task and a challenge for me, but I will do my best to contribute to the success of WKU!

I chose WKU because I am convinced of the idea to deliver effective HIV prevention through the medium of football and on the other hand I want to improve my English skills and see as much as possible from this beautiful country South Africa. I am looking forward to my time with WhizzKids and to all the upcoming tasks and challenges. I am pretty sure that the next 6 month will be very exciting and instructive for me!




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