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Social Organizations Highlighted in Streetball

The Ark City of Refuge

The Ark City of Refuge is a faith-based shelter outside of Cape Town that is open to anyone who is looking for a safe home.  The community is comprised of those who are homeless, orphaned, struggling with addictions, victims of abuse or those who simply need a safe place to live.  There are usually between 500-1000 people living at The Ark at a given time. There are over 2,250 meals prepared daily for residents.  Skills training in sewing, carpentry, welding, painting and driving are other opportunities The Ark provides its residents.  The Ark also runs its own school from nursery school through grade nine, a Bible school, as well as offers counseling, sports training, camps, arts and culture activities and holistic care to meet the needs of the children.

Beth Uriel House of Light

www.bethuriel.co.za

Home to 26 previously disadvantaged young men between the ages of 16 and 24, Beth Uriel House of Light is committed to the independence of each of the men in their home “family.”  Beth Uriel is a faith-based organization that has committed to making family values the core of their work. Dedicated to creating opportunities for those who would otherwise have none, Beth Uriel wrestles with issues of poverty, lack of education and the affects of HIV and AIDS on youth, and aspires to offer comprehensive care in every aspect of their program.

Life at Beth Uriel is much like any family. There’s healthy discipline, school is a priority and the family relaxes together. The guys have duties, celebrate birthdays, and go on holiday outings together.  In pursuit of independence, Beth Uriel desires to give each and every young man that comes through its doors quality educational opportunities at both the secondary and tertiary levels. Taking its focus from job placement to “career placement,” it is hoped that while at Beth Uriel, each young man will begin walking down a life path that will create successful opportunities for him long beyond his time at the home.

MylifE

www.mylife.org.za

Between 1,000 and 6,000 children a day are orphaned in South Africa, most of them losing their parents to HIV/AIDS.  MylifE is a Cape Town based organization that provides housing, life skills training, counseling and anti-addiction programs to homeless youth and young adults.

MylifE works from the belief that it takes a village to raise a child.  This understanding has led to the next step in the MylifE project – a pilot model for eco development that will skill youth to be the caregivers of the future and prevent millions of children from ending up on the streets.

MylifE has been recognized by Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, the Premiere of the Western Cape, representatives of the Dalai Lama, local Ministers for National Government and a host of others as an extremely important venture with global implications and application.


Welcome Home

Parliament (22)

Patricia de Lille and Lance Greyling with team

The players returned home to South Africa this week.  While there were some bumps along the way, they are now all home, safe and sound.  Soon after they landed, they were invited to Parliament and were recognized by Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats political party.  Also, they were welcomed by Kgalema Motlanthe who served as President of South Africa between  September 25, 2008 and May 9, 2009, completing the second term of Thabo Mbeki. He currently serves as Deputy President of South Africa and of the African National Congress.

These leaders spoke of how proud they were of the team for representing South Africa in Milan and for bringing home the Milan Cup, which Martin Afrika presented to Deputy President Motlanthe while at Parliament.

Kgalema Motlanthe with the team

Kgalema Motlanthe with the team

Interviews for local news media

Interviews for local news media

Taryn Aveley, FUWL regional coordinator with 2009 team captain, "Mabuthi"

Taryn Aveley, FUWL regional coordinator with 2009 team captain, "Mabuthi"

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


SA Won!!!

Winners of the Milan Cup!

Winners of the Milan Cup!

South Africa is officially the winner of the 2009 Milan Cup!  This is the third division trophy and is a great victory for SA.  They played a fantastic final game against Malawi.  The crowds were chanting for South Africa, waving their flag–some of their friends from other teams even wore SA’s warm up suits in support of South Africa.  They played a focused and solid game and won 9-1.  It was a day to celebrate in Milan, completed by the first place Homeless World Cup victory, won by the Ukraine team.

Milan-Cape Town (3)

As the players head back to South Africa, the weight of unknown futures is heavy in the air.  Some go home to organizations or family members yet others head back unsure of what will come next.  The return from this amazing event is often challenging.  In a world and economy that is difficult for all, these men are no exception.  With trophy in hand and a deeper sense of self, they return to their home country to seek new opportunities for their futures.

I am daily overwhelmed and inspired by their resilient and hopeful spirits.  As we head back to the States, their presence will surely be missed.

Milan-Cape Town (22)

Milan-Cape Town (23)

Milan-Cape Town (16)

Milan-Cape Town (7)

Milan-Cape Town (9)

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Winning Streak

South Africa has come back with a force!  Winning today against the USA and Romania, South Africa is going on to compete for the third division cup, playing against Malawi!  Tomorrow’s a big day….

Day 7 HWC Milan (6)

Day 7 HWC Milan (9)

Day 7 HWC Milan (3)

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Lewis Hamilton, San Siro and Germany

Posing with Louis Hamilton, Formula 1 racer

Posing with Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 racer

The last few days have been quite eventful including a visit from British Formula 1 racer, Lewis Hamilton, an excursion to San Siro Stadium and a day at the pool.  Asanda was injured and after a visit to the emergency room, realized he won’t be able to play for the rest of the tournament.

Today the players entered the field ready to enjoy themselves against Germany and took the game! At one point, the team was left with only 2 players on the field when Martin was taken out of the game.  Also, the goal keeper was pulled out for negative behavior and Ephraim was put in as a substitute.  With Asanda injured, Martin out, and an unpracticed goal keeper, they managed to focus in and score enough to win in the end!  Colin and Thulisile scored a series of impressive goals and Ephraim and Rushaad defended well against their opponent.  Tomorrow they play Romania to compete for one of the lower level trophies.

South Africa vs. Ghana

South Africa vs. Ghana

Asanda is injured and must sit out the rest of the tournament

Asanda is injured and must sit out the rest of the tournament

Ephraim taking over as goal keeper, helping to win the game against Germany

Ephraim taking over as goal keeper, helping to win the game against Germany

Louis Hamilton visits the Homeless World Cup

Lewis Hamilton visits the Homeless World Cup

Colin and Cheslyn at San Siro Stadium

Colin and Cheslyn at San Siro Stadium

Martin at San Siro Stadium, home of AC Milan

Martin at San Siro Stadium, home of AC Milan

A break at the pool

A break at the pool

Posing with the Homeless World Cup

Posing with the Homeless World Cup

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Match Update!

Due to the outcome of several other team’s games yesterday, the South African team is still in the running for the first place Homeless World Cup trophy! Check back soon to see how they place!!!

–Christina Ghubril

parade hwc 2009 (12)

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Day 4: Milan

Rushaad

Rushaad

Today was a challenging day on the field. Both the games against Kazakhstan and Hungary were lost. Kazakhstan doesn’t qualify to compete in the tournament so that game counts automatically as a win. However, the game against Hungary was a tough one. The teams were neck and neck up until the end. Both played a very strong game and the final score was 9-8 in favor of Hungary.

Day 4 HWC Milan (4)

The team was a bit bummed and bruised (Martin got knocked pretty hard in the face…) but even despite their losses, they quickly worked to support and encourage each other. We went out for gelato and their smiles and laughs had returned. Similar to last year, I believe this moment of loss was the moment where the significance of the Homeless World Cup was realized. Experiencing new things, realizing their value in the world and gaining inspiration and hope for their futures have become more significant than taking home the cup to South Africa.

Day 4 HWC Milan

The team also visited the South African Consulate in Milan and met Dr. Nomvuyo Nokwi, the Console Generale. She shared her story of migration from South Africa and encouraged the players to pursue opportunities for their futures.

Dr. Nokwe and Team

Dr. Nokwe and Team

We then spoke to Thapelo, last year’s team captain who helped coach this year’s team. He remembers experiencing these feelings of loss and encourages the team to keep their heads up and fully enjoy the rest of their time in Milan.

And….they’re still in high ranking for the second division tournament. Tomorrow they play Ghana and continue on to the second round semi-finals. Wish ‘em luck!

Gavin, SA's manager, enjoying gelato

Gavin, SA's manager, enjoying gelato

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Day 3: Life Worth Living

Day 3 HWC Milan (26)
The South African team showed up this morning ready to play hard. After losing their first match yesterday, they need to win 3 matches in order to remain in the running for the cup. They were neck and neck with Wales during their first game but ultimately won 6-4.  They went on to win their next game with Japan by a whopping 17 to 1. They’re ready tomorrow to play Kazakhstan and Hungary, hopefully to move on to the semi-finals.

Afterwards, Martin shared that their success on the pitch is important in revealing the team’s worth to their homeland. While they are forgotten on the streets, if South Africa would recognize all they have to offer, their country would be a better place. Drugs, he explained, are enticing on the streets because they offer a boost of confidence and a rush of adrenaline but playing and winning a game offers a buzz that’s even greater than drugs. If people on the streets were given opportunities like this more often, he thinks no one would turn to drugs and then confidently stated that he will never turn to drugs again. For one of the first times, Martin said he believed his life was worth something.

These are the stories we are honored to witness and look forward to sharing fully with the release of Streetball in 2010.  Martin is a daily example of the power of hope.  It has been amazing watching his and his teammates’ stories unfold.

Day 3 HWC Milan (34)

Martin

Day 3 HWC Milan (37)

Cheslin and Colin

Day 3 HWC Milan (39)

Ephraim

Day 3 HWC Milan (27)

Colin

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Day 2: South Africa vs. Nigeria

parade hwc 2009 (20)

Rushaad

Team Japan

Team Japan

The opening parade is a huge event at the Homeless World Cup. Today, flags of 49 countries were carried by their teams as they marched through town, singing, chanting and kicking off the tournament. It was an epic journey into a colosseum-esque stadium, where the 2009 games are taking place.

parade hwc 2009 (15)

Team Luxembourg

Nigeria

Team Nigeria

Team SA

Team SA

South Africa’s first match was against Nigeria–historically a tough team to play. Two years ago, South Africa lost 10-6 to Nigeria and last year lost 9-1. This year, SA proved to be a tougher challenge to the Nigerians. Almost no goals were scored in the first half. The teams were neck and neck until the very end when South Africa lost a shoot out, the final score being 4-3, in favor of Nigeria.

Day 3 HWC Milan (2)

A little bummed at first, the team quickly encouraged each other to lift their spirits and recognize that they played a good, strong game. They understood their moments of weakness and are ready to play as a cohesive team, remembering that ultimately, playing football is what they do for pleasure and they need to have fun as they play in order to succeed. They also stated  that regardless of the outcome, this is still an experience of a lifetime–but they’re ready to focus in tomorrow and play to win…

Day 3 HWC Milan (13)

Siphiwo aka "Mabuthi"

Thulisile

Thulisile

Rushaad, saving the ball

Rushaad, saving the ball

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


Day 1, 2009 Homeless World Cup

Team SA excited to see Demetrius

Team SA excited to see Demetrius

Bongiorno!

The first day in Milan was fantastic.  We started at a press conference with Mel Young, the founder of the Homeless World Cup.  It was held in the middle of town, across from the famed Duomo–a beautiful, historic neighborhood.

Duomo

Duomo

The team arrived safe and sound and bursting with energy!  Everyone is excited to be here–perhaps no one more than Martin Afrika.  He officially made it to Milan and is beyond ecstatic to be here, representing his country.  The players are all good friends and connect well, referring to each other as brothers.

Day 1, HWC (16)

Martin Afrika, excited with his team

All 49 teams and 500 players met last night for the official match draw.  The room was buzzing with team chants, dances and posing for photos.  The players from all teams are rooming together, so they’ve begun to build friendships already and enjoyed celebrating together.  South Africa will play their first game against Nigeria–a strong team.  Wish them luck!

Team SA

Team SA

Mel Young, founder of Homeless World Cup

Mel Young, founder of Homeless World Cup

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


To Milan for the 2009 Homeless World Cup!

I am so excited to say that it is time for the 2009 Homeless World Cup!  The South African team is preparing to travel next week and to represent their country in Milan, Italy.

It is bound to be another inspiring tournament, held in a bustling city, buzzing with the energies of players from all over the globe.  One of the most exciting things for us this year is that Martin Afrika has gotten his ID and will soon travel to Milan to live out this part of his dream.  We go to gather final footage of Martin with his team in Italy and then will hurry back to the US to insert the footage into the first cut of the film that will be sent off to the Sundance Film Festival.

It’s an exciting season all around.  Stay tuned for regular updates on the team and their journeys at this year’s Homeless World Cup!

Martin Afrika with teammates

Martin Afrika with teammates

Blog and photos by Christina Ghubril


It takes a village

We have now been gathering stories for two weeks.  Stories of artists and athletes, young people who have lived or are living on the streets, educators, community developers and the like.  One of the most interesting things so far has been to see the similar topics that are addressed by each community and to hear their perspectives coming from sometimes very different points of view.  Ideas of what South Africa is today, what has transitioned since the end of apartheid and what has remained, who can be trusted or seen as “safe” have all been addressed in one way or another and are pertinent issues to each community.

Yesterday, Demetrius and I spent some time at a local NGO, MyLife, where several of the players of the Western Cape Street Soccer League are connected and have found rehabilitation.  Martin and Rasta are both a part of MyLife and have opportunities for projects and work lined up for them upon their return from Australia.

Several of the guys from the team were at MyLife when we visited.  Many of them are coming down with physical  ailments of one sort or another.  Sandile was laid out on the couch and was taken to the hospital after we left.  Martin’s eyes were swollen, almost shut.  Linzy shared several stories with us of past students that came down with sometimes severe ailments before opportunities to leave the country for the first time. Her thought was that it is most likely adrenaline and nerve based in anticipation of such a big transition and that once they leave, they will be fine.

Linzy Thomas

Linzy Thomas

Traveling the world is a big transition for anyone.  For these players, the idea of traveling to Australia and playing on a team that represents their country as a whole is daunting, at times.   Yet, in the midst of day jobs, families, organizations to run, lives to live, the leaders of these organizations are running around town, finding students to complete paperwork, drive them to practice, organize practice games, provide meals, take the players to hospitals and prisons and where they need to go in order to get all their ducks in a row to be a part of this team and to travel the world.  The village is gathering round and I believe these guys are on the brink of something special.