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. Unfortunately, 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. We are not trying to move mountains, but rather plant a seed which will have a snowball effect that one day might.
Community projects, like ours, keep children engaged, off the street, out of trouble and distracted from negativities. AP provides a productive, enriching and fun platform for children and teenagers. We aim to create an atmosphere with positive energy and encouragement, a safe environment where they are introduced to, and surrounded by, like-minded teammates who also want to take their academia seriously and uplift themselves.
The beauty is, once the AP structures 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 whereby 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 wants 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 teams. Each team 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 improved 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 be 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. 5-a-side football teams are taken to Fives Futbol’s 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. Each player is issued an 'AP folder' with an academic progress report inside. It’s this folder, if up to date, which acts as their bus pass every Friday to the Fives Futbol facility.
To date we have 4 teams enrolled and around 35 players. Our head coaches, Aluta and Sbubu, voluntarily run the project from the Langa side. Aluta has already secured full time employment as a result of his work with AP. 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 needed. 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 100% of funds raised will go straight to the point of need. We also arrange other outings where possible and are always keen to get the players involved in other activities that’ll nurture their potential and spark their interests off the field.
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 exceptionally effective, creating tangible change for communities and participants involved. We look forward to growing the project and watching our players grow into valuable members of their communities.
all your on-going support.