Tuesday 19 March 2013
Southampton’s charity Saints Foundation does a lot of work in the club’s local community but more recently it has been using the power of football to assist the disadvantaged further afield.
A group of Southampton fans set off with the Saints Foundation to Lesotho recently to spend 10 days with one of the charity’s international partners, Kick4Life. Among the volunteers was Dwaine Smart, a former drug addict, whose life has been turned around thanks to the Foundation.
"The tour was a powerful demonstration of how football fans can be engaged in high-impact charity work"
Founded by two Southampton 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.
During the visit, there was 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.
The group also helped with the construction of an outside toilet for a local orphanage and visited a local school to deliver the curriculum activities - teaching children about HIV awareness and prevention – which proved popular. About 500 kids turned up, all wanting to shake hands and meet the group. In the afternoon the group played a match against the teachers in front of the kids, with the Saints Foundation & Kick4Life team winning 3-1 and the children singing, “Oh when the Saints go marching in”.
"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,” Steve Fleming, a co-founder of Kick4Life, said.
The Foundation will visit the region again in November 2014.
To view a range of images from the trip click here.