2012 was the year that saw my lifetime dream become a reality, where I had the greatest experience of my life.
I had the chance to deliver Life Skills sessions to a high school named Sukuma Comprehensive High School. It was my first time working with high school students and I was worried about what the behaviour of grade ten students would be like as they are becoming adolescents. Working together with my partner Neli, she helped me to adapt to the high school’s environment and understand the behaviour of the pupils there.
Doing Life Skills at the same time as sending HIV & AIDS awareness messages to the kids and the youth of Edendale is one of the most important things to me. These days, youth die due to not using protection if they are sexually active and failing to go to Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT). The job I do is fun and also very useful for the community. It has taken me to faraway places I never thought I’d go to but had always wished and imagined myself spending a day or two there.
The UNOSDP gave out forms to apply to a camp in Switzerland. I applied and was one of the chosen participants to join the camp and get the chance to go out and represent WhizzKids United. I used the opportunity to learn about leadership skills and how to go about making the kids have fun and learn at the same time to help them understand the messages better. A number of different NGOs who run similar Life Skills programmes to ours that promote awareness to youth in communities were at the camp. Where WhizzKids use football as a tool to educate youth in Edendale, the other NGOs use sports such as Basketball, Table Tennis and Judo. The camp was very helpful for me because it showed me that if you want to be a good coach or a good Life Skills trainer then you should know that you will be faced with different kinds of kids and so it is important to recognise any behavioural changes when working with them.
The skills and knowledge the UNOSDP gave to me was invaluable and I have added some of my own ideas to accommodate everyone. If a child is disabled, I can use the skills I learnt to help that child adapt to any situation he/she is in and include them in our activities. The camp was good and I learnt how to work in a team and with young people much better. As a Mixed Gender League (MGL) coach, I have applied my skills when working with the kids and have found that it helped me to connect and understand them more. As it is said, ‘To be a good leader, Lead by example’. The MGL of 2012 wasn’t as good as I had hoped due to it being the holidays where kids go out to visit their relatives. However, I have personally planned for this year and have thought about how I could make it a success by recruiting more kids, giving them health education, gathering them together to educate and support them and help them to know their HIV status. This year I hope that the job I do will help the kids to make the right decisions at the right time.
I hope to target more youth this year and help them... All the best to the year 2013.
My journey to Switzerland was a success and a trip of a life time.
My journey started when I was in Durban, this was going to be the first time leaving South Africa to go to a foreign country like Switzerland. My longest flight was 10hr 40min, this took me from Johannesburg straight to Frankfurt, Germany; which was a very tough flight as I was alone the whole way and had no one to talk to. None the less I arrived at my destination safely, and met a few people along the way and I made a friend who is named Tatenda from Zimbabwe, we were in the same camp along with another 30 and we all came from different countries around Africa and we spoke different languages from 16 different places.
In the camp on the 1st day we had a welcome speech from Mr Wilfred Lemke and he told a lot about the United Nations Office on Sport for Development & Peace (UNOSDP) and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (UNO MDG’s) which were: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Achieve universal and primary education; Promote gender equality & empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases; Ensure Evironmental Sustainability; Develop a Global Partnership for Development.
We all use sport as a tool to send awareness to the community or the teens in our own community, it surprising how different sport can send the same awareness and all sports have one or two things that improve our social skills. The 1st sport we all participated in was boxing, lead by BOX GIRLS. Boxing was great and I learnt a lot from it, you always need timing and you must be confident, if you want to send awareness through boxing you can and it’s very different from soccer because they are positions that teach you how to balance in life and how to overcome obstacle. I would like to implement boxing in our organization because we have a boxer, and just to use the simple boxing not the professional boxing skills would be good. We were also lucky to be visited by the FC Basel coach and his assistance team to teach us more about being a good coach, they mentioned a very good rule; BEING A GOOD COACH MEANS BEING A ROLE MODEL, and since we deal with the youth we should limit the theory and focus more on making the kids have fun so that they won’t get tired from a lecture, and also have time to relax and play. The UNOSDP Youth Leadership Camp was great, we all did our best in being part of the camp and to have more fun, I learnt a lot and it was really helpful to go to the camp and I will be starting to implement my new coaching skills to the kids in my organisations.
I can still imagine the fun and great learning we had, in my community I will be starting with my new coaching style and see how the kids and the community members react to it and my experiences. I’m really looking forward to showing the Edendale community my new skills, and also to share my knowledge and skills I got from the camp because it nice to share with people your skills or talent so that you would get feedback and improve if needed or get positive response from the community in order to get more people involved.
I would just like to send a word of thanks to everyone who helped me to have a successful journey and a special thanks to the UNOSDP team for treating us all with respect and for including us in everything to make our two weeks exciting and very interesting.
In our blog we will introduce the wide range of services and activities that are being offered at our Health Academy. Every week one of the WKU team members gives you an insight into why the Health Academy is so popular and successful in Edendale.
Being a life skills trainer in the Edendale schools is such a great job.
To be honest, I learn a lot myself from being a life skills trainer and also get to know kids more and learn more about how they see things and respond to the knowledge you give them. Sometimes you find kids who are really good in the life skills and some of them are good on the football field - and of course some are talented in both. But each and every one of those kids is a great personality and it is a pleasure to work with them.
I started coaching life skills here at the Health Academy and it has been a great experience for me and I’ve learnt a lot; even own my life skills and knowledge improves each day. At the moment I coach at Muzi Thusi Primary School and it is great working with the kids from that school because they show a lot of interest in the programme and our curriculum.
To tell you more about my task as a life skills trainer, I teach the kids how to live healthy and how to take good care of themselves as they grow up to become young adults. I teach them about HIV&AIDS and how it affects the human body, and also about the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the best ways to avoid them. The 3-session Sexual Health manual, which I use, is the key for my training. It explains all the activities and football drills that help young people to understand the life skills and gets them motivated in this great programme.
In order to enjoy and be able to run a proper life skills training, you should be flexible and energetic because kids need to have fun and encouragement. It is important for me as a coach to be around when the kids need help, even outside of the life skills session.
I had such a great experience in running the Mixed Gender League (MGL) for the first time. At first, I was very nervous because I wasn't familiar with the coaching. But, after the first week, my coaching skills truly improved.
The MGL kids behaved well and each day they learned life skills and improved their behaviour on and off the pitch. Most of the kids came to WhizzKids feeling shy and scared. But, after a few days, the kids became familiar and opened up to each other. For example, a 16-year old, HIV-positive girl was shy and quiet during the first week. Yet, as time went by, she got used to the other MGL players, played extremely well and made so many friends.
The most important thing that we did with the participating youth was to work with the players before each game to teach them about life skills and health education. I used the WhizzKids United "On the Ball" Life Skills, three session manual which helped me to tie in the sport of football with youth development. For example, I was able to tackle issues such setting life goals and HIV & AIDS prevention through football drills of shooting, defense and ball control.
We had 8 teams compete in our MGL and three winning teams rose to the top. Each of the three teams were rewarded with medals for their outstanding play. In addition, we also presented a trophy to two of our budding players, one male and one female, for being the leading scorers of our league. The action from the league really made children from the community excited and eager to join the MGL in the future! The MGL kids really enjoyed their experience of learning through the sport of football. And so did I!