The GCU Academy is located in Heideveld, a community of the Cape Flats outside of Cape Town. During the apartheid regime in the1960s many families were torn apart and resettled here against their will. Today, more than 50 years later, the population is still suffering from high unemployment and drug and alcohol abuse. The over-populated neighbourhood is constantly pressured by gang activities and violence.
Children leave school at an average age of only twelve years. Many schools have inadequate resources and teachers, which means that classes are often attended by more than 50 children. Not only good education is lacking, even basic needs are often not met due to dire poverty. These circumstances make a healthy and holistic development of children and adolescents virtually impossible.
- Ensure that basic needs of children are met
- Promote social contacts and friendships
- Provide school support
- Support physical and social development
- Participation of the community in the development of the Academy
- Skills development of adults from within the community as coaches and role models
The children play football, receive support with homework, meet up after school for a game on the pitch, train jumping rope, and they learn in the GCU garden how to grow their own vegetables to provide healthy food. To distract children from their daily problems, GCU has created a venue where having fun makes it possible to pass on vital knowledge.
The Academy is dependent on their coaches to continually reflect values of the program, and give attentive encouragement to the personal development of each child. Trainers show how to behave as responsible adults and become role models which children can follow.
The coaches themselves were once children at the Academy, and have gone through the complete development process to enable them to lead a new generation today. Because of this background they have an exceptional understanding of the needs of children. In the training courses we offer, coaches can deepen their knowledge with improved, extensive training. Increased quality of training justifies giving a reasonable payment to coaches, which in turn creates an incentive to gain long term employment at the academy. This was first implemented in 2011 and is a major step towards self-sufficiency and independence.
Since 2010, the beginning of the partnership, 9 coaches have been educated. Cody, a member of the first coach education, has now risen to the head coach of the GCU and we are very proud that we were able to support him by obtaining the official 2013 CAF-C-License. Today more then 300 children train and develop different skills every day at this project. Furthermore the GCU has expanded its activities in four local schools and implements there sports courses. Since 2011 FFWU has been able to send three volunteers to Heidelveldt, where they support the GCU delivering sports training and homework assistance, and strengthen intercultural exchange.