The SOL Foundation assists Fight with Insight to implement a social impact programme using the power of sports and in particular boxing to produce a wide range of benefits for young people with complex support needs, beyond the physical health benefits of exercise.
Problem to be tackled
Mental health problems are an important issue worldwide due to their impact on the human rights and quality of life of those affected. Recently, mental health promotion has become seen as a cross- cutting health priority internationally.
In South Africa almost 33% of the population suffers from some form of mental health illness, with global increases of 500% in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, more than half of these individuals do not have access to any form of mental health intervention (Tromp, Dolley, Laganparsad, & Govender, 2014).
Fight with Insight is an “open access” social impact programme – meaning open to all children who would like to participate. In order to support their participation, the programme ascribes to the International Classification of Functioning, which is based on the premise that participation in society should be encouraged regardless of ability, because participation is believed to promote functioning.
Through the creation of inclusive boxing sessions for children with autism and psychiatric disorders, Fight with Insight is increasing the extent to which the programme is truly “open access”, and facilitating all children’s capacity to participate in a mental health promotion programme, which recognizes their ability for agency, regardless of whether they are suffering from a mental health crisis, or not. In this context, children do not need to be defined by the label that brought them to care.
This programme is unique in that there are limited Comprehensive Treatment Models that can be deployed equally into advantaged and disadvantaged areas, that involve group participation, where ASD children, as well as children with psychiatric disorders can come together and participate in activities that have a quantifiable social, cognitive, emotional and physical benefit.
The beneficiaries are mainly children, adolescents and adults aged between 8 and 30 years, 80% male and 20% female.
Approximately 90% of the children and young people participating at Fight with Insight are from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and currently living within the low socio-economic band. Approximately, 60% of these participants are immigrants from central and northern African countries, such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to the statelessness of many of these families, their prospects of participating meaningfully in society are severely limited, affecting their capacity to generate a sufficient livelihood, and exposing them to further hardships.
There are approximately 40% of the participants who are regularly excluded from school due to insufficient funds for school fees, lack of stationary and not having a uniform. A few of the participants are excluded for not having any form of identity documents (i.e. birth certificate).
With the support from The SOL Foundation, Fight with Insight will be able to implement their social impact programme using the power of sport and in particular boxing for the benefit of young people with complex support needs.
Fight with Insight, situated in the Inner City of Hillbrow, Johannesburg, was established with the vision of creating a safe place for the children, using boxing to teach them life skills that assist them in taking responsibility for claiming their rights.
Fight with Insight aims to contribute positively to healthy lifestyles and sustainable communities for the children.