Coaching in life-skills through sports
Providing sports essentials and Bibles to help a fatherless generation in South Africa
Among the problems South Africa faces are what is said to be the biggest gulf between rich and poor of any nation on earth, and a very high proportion of fatherless families. Both these problems are addressed by Helderberg Academy, a South African charity founded by Beth Veenendaal, past member of a church to which one of our trustees belongs.
The Academy works in the town of Somerset West, near Cape Town, in the Helderberg ('clear mountain') area of South Africa. Here you will find children who know who is their father but don't know them as a father. They can point to them in the street, but don't live with them and have little or nothing to do with them. Fatherlessness is associated with behavioural problems, homelessness, missed education and attempted suicide.
The Academy addresses these issues in the underprivileged community by teaching life skills through sport, and encouraging and supporting children as they grow up, to help them reach their true potential. Children often do not get sufficient physical exercise at school, and they miss out on the emotional and social development that comes from being an active member of a team.
The aim is for children and teenagers to grow in self-esteem and in relating to others (especially to those from different races or cultures), and in their physical and mental development; also to give them an opportunity to play and have a break from home responsibilities.
That is achieved through weekly sports coaching in football, netball, rugby, dance, etc. These promote fitness, health, and values such as respect, responsibility, courage and empathy. Also by giving youngsters experience in leadership or coaching, they develop leadership skills and learn to be role models in their communities. Occasional holiday clubs are also run, giving the opportunity for more time together.
What we Provided
We have sent a grant of £802, made up as follows:
£230 for one year's supply of balls for monthly prizes given to the most-improved boy and girl in each community
£173 for one year's supply of Bibles for monthly prizes as above
£105 for two sets of eight slalom poles for weekly sessions and holiday clubs
£105 for netball, rugby and football balls for weekly coaching
£189 for 12 sets of socks and boots for children that regularly attend
Update: Coronavirus - How it Affects this Project
On 26 March South Africa went into nationwide lockdown, which has been quite a challenge to deal with as the core of the Academy is the children they work with, and now they are not able to see them.
Covid-19 has prevented their planned holiday club and their usual home visits. In an effort to stay connected with the children, the week before lockdown they managed to meet with each community and hand over some activities for the children to do at home. They have subsequently started a WhatsApp group where they share a daily activity and encouragement with the parents in the hope that they will share these with their children; this they will continue for the duration of the lockdown. They have also endeavoured to contact the parents by phone as a substitute for the home visits.
Just before the lockdown, they were able to buy some of the items specified above, but of course they cannot for the time being use them. We are expecting to receive pictures once they have resumed coaching.
In the meantime we have told the Academy to feel free to divert remaining grant money to buy essential items they may need in their response to the pandemic.
As of 19 April there had been 54 deaths in South Africa caused by Covid-19, equivalent to 16 March in the UK. Please pray.
All the images on this page show the recent work of Helderberg Academy. The money we have raised will extend and protect this work, and photos will be uploaded once available.