African Passions (AP) aims to unlock opportunities by encouraging education through sports. AP believes all participants can use their experiences on the pitch to succeed off of it.
AP provides a model where by participants get the opportunity to join football teams, which play in a professional–style league, and in return they must agree to attend school and increase their academic performances; encouraging them to work hard AND play hard!
The communities we work with, though underdeveloped, hold great potential. Many of the members have an enthusiasm and excitement for education, a strong belief in community values and are remarkably generous and good-natured. These qualities should provide the basis for a lifetime of prosperity and growth. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. For most, there are countless obstacles preventing them from realising their potential. African Passions hope to act as the stepping-stone to allow these bright communities, and individuals, to overcome limitations.
Community projects, like ours, keep children engaged, off the street, out of trouble and distract them from negativities. AP provides a productive, enriching and fun platform for children and teenagers.
The beauty is, once the AP structure have been implemented the project is self-sustainable. It is also hoped that by bringing in the right community members to take positions of responsibility AP can create a mentality where by younger generations aspire to resume these positions of management. This helps create a sustainable cycle through generations.
"In Africa, football is not a religion. But it is everything a religion should be." - Ian Bower
Sport is very powerful throughout Africa. It provides hope and optimism, and brings people together - facilities and organisation permitting! With this in mind, AP wanted to use football as a catalyst to develop important character traits and drive academic involvement and performance.
In 2010, AP's first project, modestly labelled "the birthing of an elephant" by the AP Kenya chairman Pastor Robert, was born in the rural, western district of Kisii. The AP Kenya project consists of eight 11-aside football clubs. Each club is run by a manager, who volunteers their time to organise, train and monitor their players. Each team is affiliated with a local school This helps with the monitoring of player's school attendance and grades. Improved grades result in improves government budgets for the schools, and for this they lend their pitches to host weekly fixtures. The player's reward for improved school attendance is the opportunity to part of a team, have a mentor in their coach/ manager/ captain, and, of course, the novelty of owning their own football kit and boots.
In 2012, AP expanded their work into South Africa. Here, they work with a community in the Township of Langa (just outside Cape Town). AP have adapted their program to best suit the surroundings. They have partnered with another local initiative called The Happy Feet Youth Project. 5-a-side football teams, made up from participants in the Happy Feet program (aged 4 - 18), are taken to world-class facilities in Cape Town once a week to play their league games. Each team is Managed, Coached and Captained by an older member of the project (aged 16 - 18), who also monitors their academic attendance and acts as a mentor figure for the younger players. Again, as with the Kenyan project, for these players being part of a team and integrating with different ages provides a stimulating platform to socialise and develop key life skills such as responsibility, team work, communication, self confidence, discipline, camaraderie, punctuality and more. The young men who have taken on the responsibility of running their own teams have embraced their role, and already the younger players are excited to work towards one day being a coach of their own team.
We are currently a very small NGO but we feel this works to our advantage. It means that we can monitor our projects closely, making adjustments when needs be. It also allows us to maintain a more intimate relationship with both our generous supporters overseas and our beneficiaries in Africa. Crucially, it means that we have minimal running costs, and so almost 100% of funds raised will go straight to the point of need.
To date AP has worked with two communities. We have raised a lot of money, all of which has gone to the source of need. We have raised 1000’s of sports merchandise such as kits, balls and boots. We have provided FA qualified coaches and well-educated volunteers. We have built football pitches and arranged for the use of world-class facilities. AP is very proud of the work they have done so far and look forward to expanding it further. The AP ethos and structure, which at the beginning was nothing more than an idealistic concept, has proved to be very effective and has created tangible change for communities and participants involved.
To continue and grow our work we need your support! We need to help transport teams to matches and provide a nourishing game-day meal. Nutrition is key to getting the most out of the project.
Thanks for all your on going support.