Sports has the power to bring people together. It speaks a universal language and cuts through culture, race and religion. It has the power to break down barriers and not only does have an impact on the individuals involved, but the whole community thrives and comes together as a result. Sport also develops important key skills which help children thrive in all sorts of ways. It encourages team work and communication, alongside developing fundamental physical skills. But, more importantly, sport is essential for giving children the chance to discover a passion and to become engaged in what they do. In rural African neighborhoods, particularly those in high-risk areas such as Cape Town’s townships, engagement with sport prevents children from participating in substance abuse and crime associated with poverty.
However, opportunities for sport within the areas where we work are limited or non-existent.
Physical education has been removed from South African education curriculum, limiting children’s opportunities in impoverished rural and township schools to access sport
63% of young South African children live in poverty, with little to no means to access sporting clubs or organizations
40% of children and youth in South Africa are receiving no form of sports or physical activity each week
While physical education is now a part of a Zambian child’s school curriculum, many teachers and coaches are not formally trained or qualified
This leads to serious problems, not only socially but also for children’s physical health. Children with little to no physical education opportunities:
Are more likely to use tobacco, alcohol and drugs than their active peers
Are more likely to be obese adults
Are more likely to have poorer concentration and academic performance
Are more likely to see a decrease in their general mental health
Volunteers on African Impact’s sports volunteer projects in South Africa and Zambia get involved in local schools that would otherwise not have the resources to carry out sports and physical activities. Volunteers will inspire the children, providing essential know-how and skills to allow these kids to engage in sport.
In Cape Town, particular focus is on primary school education, where volunteers support local coaching NGOs to provide physical education classes during morning sessions, whereas afternoons are spent working with children in emergency foster care homes and after-school clubs. At Victoria Falls in Zambia, volunteers work in 5 different schools, teaching the children new games and designing physical education lessons that focus on topics including nutrition and well-being. Here, volunteers also work to coach particular sporting clubs, including rugby for both boys and girls.
Why do we support sport coaching volunteering? The impact of sport on a child’s life and the presence of sport within a community is invaluable, as it provides a wave of opportunity. Sport is critical in contributing towards tackling larger community issues, including HIV/AIDS. Children between the ages of 10-14 years have the lowest risk of becoming HIV positive, meaning that if can educate them against the dangers of ill-health and encourage these children to become involved and passionate about sport, we can start to halt the spread of this epidemic. Education is the best defense against social and health problems.
By becoming a sports volunteer in Africa, you will provide children with sporting opportunities they otherwise would not be able to access and inspire them with your passion. Check out our sports coaching programs below:
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