This week we hear from Lucy Fondling, formerly from Coaching For Hope, in South Africa. Following CFH’s merger with TackleAfrica last year, Lucy came on board. Having taken part in a Coaching for Hope course in 2010, she has been an enthusiastic advocate for using sport to empower young people ever since, and we were delighted to add Lucy’s experience and passion to TackleAfrica.
In the townships and Cape Flats surrounding Cape Town, South Africa, HIV/AIDS is straining the public health system to breaking point. Women are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection and stigma, and Lucy’s work with adolescents is designed to give them the tools they need to make healthy choices in their lives. In October last year, Lucy started delivering a Leadership Course in schools, on a programme that recognised that young people there had little to no outlet for their talents and could easily be led astray into gangs and risky sexual behaviour. Fast forward to February, and Lucy can hardly keep up with demand for her sessions.
She tells us, “now that I am running regular soccer coaching sessions in schools across the Cape Flats, the word is out! I can’t believe the demand I am getting and I am only a volunteer. The students are really soaking up the messages in the Young Leaders courses. They are hungry to learn and to play sport as not many schools have PE teachers, and this aspect of school life has been neglected for a long time.”
TackleAfrica have long recognised the power of sport to engage young people, and it’s great to hear that the students are flocking to the programme. But the strength of a programme increases hugely when the community is also on board, and that’s what Lucy says is happening in Cape Flats. “I have been working in schools in Langa, Manengerg and Bonteuwei and I even ran a session with Nelson Mandela’s grand-daughter participating. The local police force have approached me to ask if I could run sessions with them. I am very excited to welcome the delegation from the Professional Footballer’s Association who are visiting with Jane Carter – Head of Partnership Development – in March. I want to show them how much potential there is to work in this area giving the young people of the Cape Flats some hope and confidence.”
It’s great to hear that sport is being used successfully to engage young people, especially in communities where it has too long been neglected, and we wish Lucy and the programme continued success!
To find out more about our merger last year with Coaching for Hope, and how TackleAfrica is now working to continue their programming in west and southern Africa, please see our announcement here https://tackleafrica.org/coaching-for-hope/
If you want to get involved with our work, in any way, we’d love to hear from you. There is lots of information on our website here www.tackleafrica.org/get-involved