Kids get ready to go into camp

FOR four weeks during the 2010 Fifa soccer World Cup, 4500 young people will be in camps.

The more than 45 camps around the country will be run by Castrol and the non-profit organisation Grassroots Soccer.

Castrol's Bridget Nkuna said: "The programme is part of our legacy projects. We realised that during school holidays, school children did not have enough to do.

"We were also worried about issues of child trafficking during the World Cup. That is why we want the children to be in personal development camps during the tournament.

"We had a trial camp last September in Soweto and it went well. Now we are expanding to other parts of the country."

She said that after the World Cup, the camps would continue as part of the company's legacy projects.

At the camps, the children will be taught life skills and about HIV-Aids.

In one camp, there will be a maximum of 100 children. Ten children will be cared for by one coach.

Grassroots Soccer's Soweto intern Karji Subramanian said: "The curriculum is taught through the language of soccer.

"The coaches we have are taught how to facilitate vital conversations with children and how to be caring coaches. The whole process is holistic.

"We recruit children through schools and we are present during their life orientation classes.

"Our life orientation programme is called Skillz. We are in the process of registering it with the education department."

Grassroots Soccer's Soweto organiser Gregory Laing said: "When the children leave the camp, we try and keep in touch with them.

"There is a pre- and post-camp evaluation to see what knowledge the children had when they came into the camps and what knowledge they have when they leave.

"Some of the children who have been in the camps want to be coaches.

"We encourage the children to go out and impart the knowledge they got from the camps to the people in their communities."

Tebogo Tsimane and Neo Mothoa, took part in last year's camp.

Mothoa said: "We learnt at the camp. We are now able to teach other children at our schools."