SPORT offers young people and, especially, the disadvantaged youth of South Africa numerous positive life experiences, including a sense of belonging, fair play and respect, and its contribution towards youth empowerment cannot, therefore, be over-emphasised.
This was the view of Mr Gaf Osman, a Trustee of the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT), at the recent hand-over of two refurbished basketball courts at Addington Primary School in South Beach and Sukuma Primary School in Umlazi recently.
“Sport provides the ideal medium for reaching-out to, particularly, society’s at-risk youngsters, those mired in poverty and those coming from single – or worse – no parent homes. Engaging at-risk youngsters in sport, rather than allowing them to roam the streets, has the effect of reducing the potential for criminal activity and other anti-social behaviours. Indeed, sport helps with developing problem-solving skills and the ability for peers to work together as a team,” he said.
Both school’s basketball court were built more than 10 years ago when PeacePlayers – South Africa was founded at the educational institutions. This organisation, established in 2001, assists KwaZulu-Natal’s young people to follow a safe and successful path in a society severely impacted by HIV/AIDS, high levels of unemployment, crime and both cultural and social divides.
Osman said the organisation’s philosophy of providing children a sports-based education, teens the opportunity to develop leadership skills and communities with a constituency of skilled, confident mentors for the next generation, was ‘to be roundly applauded.’ He added: “Sport plays an exceptionally important role in education in South Africa. Sadly, however, the basketball court at Sukuma Primary School and Addington Primary School, although heavily used, has lacked necessary maintenance, meaning that it has slipped into a state of disrepair. PeacePlayers International – South Africa has led the drive to bring the courts back to its former glory, so enabling sport to again become a catalyst for empowerment at Sukuma Primary School and Addington Primary School.”
He said the Trust was pleased to respond to PeacePlayers – South Africa’s application for assistance by making available a sum of R151 000 towards the total refurbishment of the school’s basketball courts.
“We hope this humble contribution will serve to encourage Sukuma and Addington Primary School learners to get active, remain active and take on-board the life-skill lessons sport has to offer,” he said.
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