The Pride completes 2,000km desert odyssey en route to Bloemfontein’s coaching week
Johanna Waide, Bloemfontein
To reach South Africa – the charity’s final country destination on its ‘Rugby in Africa 2017’ route – the Pride embarked on a five-day expedition leg across the Namib Desert.
The views and stops were some of the most breathtaking of the entire journey. They included a sunrise climb up Dune 45 and walks around Deadvlei (petrified forest) in The Namib-Naukluft National Park, as well as walking along the edge of the Fish River Canyon (take a look at some of the drive’s awe-inspiring photos from a previous blog).
Part one of the South African program kicked-off in Bloemfontein with a special Saturday morning coaching clinic for 200 children from the Cheetah Kidz Sport Development Program. Pride members partnered with local coaches to run ten activity stations, delivering a high level of coaching expertise, with exercises aimed at improving the abilities of children who regularly play rugby.
The core community coaching week officially began on Monday afternoon following an orientation with the three participating schools – Matle, Toka and Kgato primary schools. Pride members coached in groups of three or four, and each were challenged to adapt to a new schedule format – 100 children on the pitch all at once for an hour and a half, over just three days.
Thorough session planning and coaching support from G4S employees meant that, come tournament day, the children stepped up to play skilful games of touch rugby.
Tournament directors Josh and Floyd tested the children’s knowledge of the charity’s PRIDE values as part of the opening and closing speeches, and were met with enthusiastic replies from the audience for each word represented by the acronym.
Seeing the way the children embraced these values was a highlight for Ipo Maja, G4S Country Program Leader for Bhubesi Pride Foundation’s Bloemfontein project leg. Ipo said:
“I asked some of the children what they think they are gaining from the BPF program and one boy told me that he had learned a lot about discipline.
I was curious if he fully understood the concept of discipline, so I asked him exactly what he meant… He explained that he used to be rebellious, but Bhubesi Pride Foundation had taught him not to act in that way anymore. It’s so powerful that this project can help develop the inner strength and character of these children.”
BLOEMFONTEIN COACHING WEEK IN NUMBERS
- Number of participating schools/communities: 3 (Kgato, Matla, Toka primary schools)
- Number of children coached: 300
- Boys / girls: 53 / 47
- Percentage of children participating in 3 or more sessions: 91%
- Number of participating local coaches: 9
- Number of participating local coaches awarded a BPF buddy coach certificate: 9
After more than four months working closely with G4S employees from nine different countries across the continent, Pride members met Regional President for G4S Africa, Mel Brooks, who travelled from head office near Johannesburg to see the Bloemfontein tournament day in action. Pride members re-lived some of their rewarding experiences, chatting to Mel about their adventures so far. Mel made a speech for the children, thanking them for putting so much effort into ensuring the coaching program was a success, before helping to present each child with a medal.
During the week, G4S’ regional office in Bloemfontein launched their 2017 legacy project, where they donated books and refurbished desks to local schools in need, including Matle Primary. The schools held ceremonies as a token of their appreciation, where the children sang and did other performances – including a group of boys from Matle, who created a percussion ensemble by dancing in gumboots.
Relebogile Molektsi, a grade seven student from Gonyone Primary, prepared a speech on behalf of his peers and teachers to thank G4S for their generosity:
“We want to assure you that your efforts will not pass unnoticed. We will perform to our utmost and make you proud. We want to make a promise that we won’t let you down. We are going to take good care of all the things your organisation has done for our school.”
The school desks donated were rebuilt at Mangaung Correctional Centre (managed by G4S), as part of a program which identifies ways for inmates to give back to the community. Pride members had the chance to visit the prison workshop to see first-hand how the desks are transformed, from being broken and unusable, to looking brand-new again before being returned to the schools.
Braai time and down town as the Pride socialise with G4S employees at Mangaung Correctional Centre
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