Sports are very important in South Africa. From the post-apartheid successes of the Springboks, the national rugby squad, to the 2010 soccer World Cup, sports have helped bring South Africans together. Sports help people build trust and encourage collaboration and communication.
While public schools in Cape Town have a physical education component, resources are extremely limited. Volunteers bring energy and skills, as well as new cultural perspectives that they share with the children. Volunteers live and work in Cape Town.
What do volunteers do?
Volunteers serve four to six hours a day in an elementary school with children ranging from 6 to 13 years old. The school is public, and most of the children come from very poor backgrounds. Overcrowding and not enough teachers, materials and other resources are constant problems. Volunteers work alongside local physical education teachers to lead sports activities. These may include playing games like basketball, soccer and volleyball, as well as general fitness activities like running and stretching. Volunteers encourage the children and maintain order, and help to make teams, referee and ensure good sportsmanship. Volunteers are also encouraged to introduce new sports and to lead discussions on healthy living, for example ones related to exercise and nutrition. As physical education does not run the whole day at the school, volunteers also have the opportunity to help in other areas of the school with classroom topics like art, dancing, math and writing.
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