ON THE GROUND: Green Turtle

Scheme: To build a modern football academy inside the South African township of Imizamo Yethu, near Hoat Bay, just outside Cape Town

Funding: £1,700 has been donated by tourists; company donors have supplied goods and services; and football clubs worldwide are being scouted as potential sponsors

Objectives: To provide a better quality of life for young people in townships

South Africa is still a hotbed of hostility between those in power and those with nothing. This is illustrated by the township of Imizamo Yethu, near Cape Town, a microcosm of life for poor blacks in South Africa struggling with the legacy of apartheid.

The township has a population of 16,000 inhabitants living in an area designated for 2,500 people. It has a 60 per cent unemployment rate, poor educational standards, no sport facilities and high incidences of HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, and alcohol and drug abuse.

That is why two friends, Siphiwe Cele and Craig Hepburn, set up the Green Turtle charity in 1998. They are seeking to create a sustainable community development project through township tourism and the disciplines of sport, music and dance. "We want visitors to understand township life, make new friends and create a path for change," said Hepburn.

Established two years ago, the African Brothers Football Academy is the first programme on the agenda. "We have chosen football as the cornerstone of our outreach initiative as it is the national passion and the ideal vehicle to bridge the racial, cultural and economic divide in South Africa," he said.

The academy has so far operated with second-hand equipment. It has no coaching areas and the fields are not up to national football association standards. So the charity has set up an online donation facility, where visitors can choose what to donate. Bricks and grass are an option, footballs cost around £10 each and an entire squad of 16 children can be kitted out for under £1,000, with discount-priced sportswear supplied by Diadora.

Kit sponsorship allows donors to choose what designs and colours their team will play in. They will also receive a thank-you letter and a team photograph.

The cost of building the entire academy and providing players and coaches with the right equipment will be around £63,000. It will be home to 20 teams, male and female, 16 of which will be juniors. It will also assist a further eight clubs in the township with coaching and sponsorship of equipment.

"We plan to have an accredited coaching programme and teach children to work hard by strictly enforcing a 'no homework, no play' policy," said Hepburn.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus