This month, all eyes are on South Africa as it hosts the 19th World Cup. But for hundreds of young South Africans, it will not be the first important football tournament their country has hosted this year.
In April, Christian Aid partner PACSA (Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness) held a football tournament bringing together kids from Kwa Zulu Natal’s poorest communities with pupils from elite, privileged schools nearby, as well as international German and UK students.
The mini-tournament and workshops held between games, offered a range of social and psychological support to 300 young participants from underprivileged backgrounds while sharing messages around the risks of HIV.
Equipping young leaders
Drawing on extensive experience of raising awareness about HIV with young people, PACSA is now building on the work carried out during the tournament to equip a group of about 100 youth leaders – girls and boys from privileged and underprivileged areas - who will then influence their peers through sessions in community groups, churches and schools.
Similar schemes run by PACSA have been very successful in helping young people to reduce the risk of HIV infection, pregnancy and discrimination against girls.
Projects like this are literally life saving in a country where an estimated 5.7 million people are living with HIV - the highest number of any country in the world - and where hundreds of people die every day as a result.
Christian Aid has worked in partnership with PACSA since 1988, supporting them to address issues including domestic violence and reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa.
We continue to fund projects on HIV and on empowering young people to speak out and challenge injustice.
Through its day-to-day work using sport, art and culture, PACSA is breaking down social barriers in a country with one of the widest inequality gaps in the world and it is realising its vision to ‘build the nation one youth at a time’.
- Christian Aid has funded other work supporting children to cope with the loss of parents because of HIV. Find out more