A group of Saints fans set off with the Saints Foundation to Lesotho recently to spend 10 days volunteering with one of the Charity’s international partner‘s Kick4Life. Founded by two Saints fans in 2005, Kick4Life uses football to deliver health education, HIV testing, life-skills development and support into education and employment for vulnerable young people. Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence in the world and more than 100,000 children have been orphaned by the disease.
To reach their destination in Lesotho, (a small country landlocked by South Africa and is just over 30,000 km2 in size), the group travelled for 24 hours via Johannesburg airport arriving at their Kick4Life destination exhausted but looking forward to the experience!
The timetable was packed with a range of educational workshops, equipping the team with the skills to support the Kick4Life programme as well as a number of football sessions including Saints Foundation staff member Phil Hastings delivering a coaching session for the Lesotho National team, with support from Dwaine Smart and Lewis Coombes! Lesotho’s next fixture is a World Cup Qualifier against Zambia which may feature current Saints player Emmanual Mayuka!
The group visited a local school to deliver the curriculum activities – teaching children about HIV awareness and prevention. The sessions were swamped by 500 kids on arrival, all wanting to shake hands and meet the group. During the afternoon the group played a football match against the teachers in front of 400 kids watching with the Saints Foundation & Kick4Life team winning 3-1 with the watching children singing ‘oh when the Saints go marching in’!!!
Steve Fleming (Co-Founder of Kick4Life) shared his thoughts on the partnership; “Kick4Life is delighted to be working with a football club that has such a progressive approach to local and international development, and the tour was a powerful demonstration of how football supporters can be engaged in high-impact charity work. On a personal level, as a Saints fan, it was also a great honour to play in the red & white over in Africa!”
During their short stay, the group collectively committed over 350 volunteering hours to support the Kick4Life curriculum programme working with 500 school children, helped with the construction of an outside toilet for a local orphanage and ultimately returned to the UK with a very different perspective on life and of the challenges facing many communities across the world.
Rich Still was one of the Saints fans who took part and commented, “The Saints Foundation and Kick4life tour to Lesotho, South Africa is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. And I hope I can experience this journey once more when the Foundation travels again in November 2014.”
To view a range of images from the trip CLICK HERE. Saints Foundation looks forward to maintaining the partnership with Kick4Life and the next tour to Lesotho is in November 2014. If you’re interested in finding out more about the trip or a forthcoming open evening contact Shelley Davies; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 6889370.