Academic success, confidence and leadership through football.
Khayelitsha, one of South Africa’s largest and fastest growing townships on the outskirts of Cape Town, is an extremely challenging place for young women to grow up. Life often seems daunting as young women are surrounded by rape, gender based violence, muggings, alcohol and drug abuse, HIV, and teen pregnancy. Societal norms dictate a young girls education, relationship, economic, and health choices. Women bear the burden of all household responsibilities and are often forced to do so at a very young age at the expense of their education and free will. There is little incentive to finish schooling as often, young women only have one option – to get married and have children. Girls have limited access to safe spaces with the freedom to simply play or speak openly about the struggles they face. These barriers can prevent them from completing school, and often directly and indirectly perpetuate conditions in the community.
RV United is uniquely positioned to use football to help young women navigate and overcome these challenges of life in Khayelitsha. Sport is an essential tool for social empowerment, and RV United takes a holistic approach to player development. Not only do Senior RV players coach younger female players in football and life skills, they also focus on academic tutoring, monitoring school performance and teaching the soft skills to needed to succeed in school and life.
Participation in RV United also promotes measurable mental, emotional and medical benefits, as well as economic and social gains. Football serves as a vehicle to improve players' leadership roles and participation in decision making. The acquisition of valuable soft skills in management, negotiation, and decision-making allows RV players to become leaders in directing their own lives, managing household expectations, and participating in all areas of community life.