The Grootbos Foundation and Football Foundation of South Africa uses sport to lure youngsters in small Western Cape towns away from drugs, alcohol and crime.
Sport has the potential to change lives. It transcends the boundaries of race, religion and class. It is this potential that the Grootbos Foundation has tapped into, to help change the communities of Gansbaai, Stanford and Hermanus.
The Football Foundation of South Africa (FFSA), established in 2008 and merged with the Grootbos Foundation in 2014, uses sport to encourage social integration in the Western Cape towns. It also educates and empowers young people, using sport as the tool.
The football foundation runs football, netball, hockey and athletics training sessions in Gansbaai, Stanford and Hermanus which, according to its website, reach 2 000 individuals weekly.
It uses this range of sports to appeal to the youngsters, offering them more constructive ways to use their time. This way, it draws them away from getting caught in a culture of drug and alcohol abuse and gangsterism.
In addition to the sports training sessions, the organisation also runs programmes aimed at educating the youth about major social issues such as HIV, female empowerment, the environment, nutrition and enterprise development.
By promoting education, health awareness and skills development, as well as providing leadership opportunities within the organisation itself, the FFSA looks to equip the youngsters involved in the programme with the knowledge and skills needed for them to develop and increase their chances of finding employment.
“In South Africa there is a massive demand for skills,” said the director of the Grootbos Foundation, Leán Terblanche, during an interview with former Manchester United Football Club player Rio Ferdinand.
“Employment is a problem worldwide, but by giving these people the skills and this kind of education and the accredited training which is key in this programme as well, it enables them to go on and their chances of finding employment vastly improve.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are a range of options for those looking to get involved in the activities of the organisation, including making a monetary donation to help cover expenses. You can also offer your time to volunteer with Grootbos.
As a volunteer you can help the coaches in the running of the Football Foundation sports outreach projects throughout the Western Cape or assist with some of their administrative work at their offices.
The organisation also welcomes those looking to make a donation of old sporting equipment or funds to help them continue reaching as many people as it can.
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