With the resounding sound of vuvuzelas in the air and flags flying high, QwaQwa, a small community in the Free State, is now a new Football for Hope Centre. This centre forms part of FIFA’s 20 Centres for 2010 initiative, the legacy programme of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with saw 20 centres built across Africa to benefit socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
Together with FIFA, Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, the New loveLife Trust is excited to be involved with this centre which is designed for young people and their self-development. All partners in the project are united around the shared belief that football has the power to impart social, cultural and humanitarian values.
"We truly believe that interacting with young people in football matches and imparting the HIV message to them during our time together will help them," said Tshidiso Motaung from the Qwaqwa Football for Hope Centre.
loveLife is South Africa’s largest HIV prevention programme for young people and the QwaQwa Football for Hope Centre will give young South Africans in the region access to comprehensive programmes. These programmes empower them on how to deal with individual, social and structural factors that drive the HIV epidemic among young people.
To date, loveLife has established 20 Y-Centres across all nine provinces - from which 12 to 19 year olds have been learning about leadership and self-motivation. The idea is that the injection of life skills and access to healthy lifestyle information coupled with a strong football component will see a new breed of young leaders emerging.
loveLife and FIFA
Football has been an important part of loveLife’s ideology for HIV prevention strategy since the inception of the loveLife games in 2002. The loveLife games are South Africa’s largest school sports initiative, which is funded by the national Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA).
With the inception of the loveLifestyle strategy in 2004, loveLife started driving sports league formation through its 7,000- strong youth service corps, with the explicit intention of linking these leagues to the loveLife games. These young leaders, signing up for either the Mpintshi (colloquial for friend) or the groundBREAKER programme, had previously worked only on basketball, motivation, debating, and health sexuality programmes.
In 2009, loveLife engaged over 64,000 young men and women in structured footballing activity. The organisation is also passionate about promoting and raising awareness of the use of sport for positive change, thus they play an active part in like-minded networks including Football for Hope.