United Through Sport South Africa offers three programmes, the Mass Participation Programme, the Junior School of Excellence Programme and the Senior School of Excellence Programme.
The Mass Participation Programme focuses on structured sports coaching in Football, Rugby, Cricket, Netball, Hockey, Tennis and Swimming and combining it with key education about HIV and AIDS, to children between the age of 10 and 13 across the disadvantaged communities of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Problem to be tackled
In South Africa there is no physical education on the national curriculum and the poorer communities have very few junior sports clubs. As a result children growing up in these areas have very little access to any structured sports activity and as such miss out on all of the benefits associated with this.
Physical activity has been found to be one of the most effective combatants of emotional disorders such as depression. Playing sport in a structured environment with good mentors also has the power to develop key life-skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication and decision-making.
Further to this, HIV and AIDS is one of the most significant issues facing children and youth in the communities in which UTS works. The infection rate in youth between the age of 16 and 35 is as high as 35% – more than one in three young adults in the disadvantaged communities is infected with HIV or AIDS. Therefore it is imperative that children are given the tools and skills required to be able to avoid contracting HIV before reaching the age of 16.
United Through Sport’s goal is not to develop sport itself but to use the power of sport to create opportunities for children, socially, physically and academically by developing their holistic skills, knowledge and ability and creating pathways to success.
They use sport in three main ways:
- Using direct sports coaching – for its health benefits, improved emotional well being and increased life skills (teamwork, leadership, decision making, communication.
- Using sport to discuss critical issues – by delivering curricula on topics such as HIV and AIDS awareness and gender equality in a fun and interactive manner on the sports field.
- Using sport for improved education – by providing pathways to success for talented and dedicated individuals through scholarships to top local schools and tertiary education.
The project targets children and youth who come from the disadvantaged communities around the area of Port Elizabeth with the main challenges HIV, no food, no education, no opportunities, no visions.
Between the years 2017 and 2020, The SOL Foundation assists with the Mass Participation Programme and provides in addition a mini bus to support the efficient implementation of the programme.
United Through Sport is focussed on working with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds using the power of sport to improve education, raise health awareness and build life-skills.