“We initially set up a health education and HIV testing programme that was very successful and Laureus started to support us in 2010 through funding these testing programmes, as well as our health and education curriculum,” Steve continued.
“Around that time, we then diversified our programmes quite significantly to move into more holistic support for young people, addressing things like gender equality, life skills development and employability.
“That coincided with setting up some social enterprises which helped to diversify our funding through income-generating businesses including a restaurant, hotel, conference centre and football teams.
“As well as contributing approximately 25% of our income, the enterprises have enabled us to provide training and employment opportunities for the young people coming through and lots of our participants have now gone on to establish careers for themselves.”
The current Kick4Life project supported by Laureus is Good Health & Wellbeing through Sport
The curriculum aims to provide targeted health education specifically designed to engage and motivate young people around the most pressing challenges in Lesotho, including, HIV/AIDS, hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, drug, alcohol and substance misuse, and mental health.
The programme also includes significant components of gender equality and life skills development, which are critical in supporting the adoption of healthy attitudes and behaviours.
One of the beneficiaries of the Good Health & Wellbeing through Sport programme is Jason Naidoo, who completed the curriculum while enrolled with Kick4Life.
A talented footballer, Jason’s journey with Kick4Life began when he started attending coaching sessions and he was soon enrolled in the Kick4Life Academy, a programme focused on academic, sporting and character development, with the ultimate goal of supporting participants to life-changing opportunities at international universities.
The programme has helped secure fully funded scholarships in the USA for five young people, including the first two girls in Lesotho’s history to gain international soccer scholarships.
While in the Academy, Jason’s progress was held back by hearing loss sustained after an infection at a young age, and the Kick4Life team saw the need for healthcare support.
“We ran a fundraising campaign to raise enough money so that he could have treatment on his ears and his hearing was significantly restored,” Steve explained.
“We’ve now been able to secure a scholarship for him to study at V.N. Naik School for the Deaf in Durban, South Africa, where he will access a top-class education specifically for young people with hearing impairments.
“Jason has continued playing football by representing the school and is still part of the Kick4Life Academy and joins our programming when he returns for school breaks.”
Jason explained: “I want to thank Kick4Life for supporting me. I am going to work hard at school so that I can pass. I will also work hard so that I make my family proud."
Like many organisations, Kick4Life have not been able to deliver their projects in the normal way since March with sporting activities not permitted.