Hope Academy is an official project of Ambassadors in Sport (AIS-Africa). AIS-Africa is part of AIS International, a Christian-based non-profit organisation, who have developed community based football projects on every continent.
Mission/Philosophy (from website):
To strategically establish self-sustainable Hope Academies in disadvantaged communities and to uplift children in their football, faith and future.
Where they work:
AIS-Africa began in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001 and now has branches in Mozambique, Zambia Kenya and Nigeria. The head office of AIS Africa is now in Pretoria, South Africa. Their goal is to partner with like-minded people and organizations to strategically develop Hope Academies across Africa.
Hope Academy in Soweto:
LegalWise Soweto Hope Academy launched in October 2010 and is in Dobsonville in the heart of Soweto, South Africa’s largest township. Soweto is 16km outside of Johannesburg and is the home to approximately 1 million people.
The Soweto Academy is coordinated out of the Siziwile School for the Deaf in Dobsonville and works with U9 boys and U9 girls. The Academy is aimed at developing these children over many years, producing a generation of leaders on and off the soccer field that will in turn bring hope and transformation within Soweto in the future.
Hope Academy in Drakenstein:
Drakenstein Hope Academy was the first official Hope Academy launched in South Africa in January 2008. The Academy works with juvenile offenders in Drakenstein Prison, Paarl, which is 1 hour outside of Cape Town, South Africa.
Many may recognize the prison because of it’s historical significance (Nelson Mandela was released from Drakenstein in 1994). Drakenstein Hope Academy is also special and unique as it is the first prison football academy in South African history. The Academy attracts and recruits the top juvenile football players from prisons around the Western Cape. In 2009, the Academy participated in an outside league and won both the league and cup double without losing a game.
The Hope Academy curriculum is key to the success of the program. Soccer is used as a platform for The Hope Academy curriculum which is built upon three tenets:
* Football: Hope Academy offers an intensive program delivered by trained coaches. All Hope Academies are managed with a philosophy which allows each player to develop and progress according to their ability.
* Faith: Hope Academy is developed from a Christian foundation which models and teaches biblical life principles. While having a Christian foundation, Hope Academy welcomes youth from all religious and cultural backgrounds, respecting and treating all players equally.
* Future: Education is a priority to everyone within Hope Academy. Their Life Skills curriculum and school reporting process enables children to make positive choices for their future and achieve their full potential in their education.
While Hope Academy’s main focus is to serve the youth in their programs, they also reach out to the surrounding community organizing soccer clinics, tournaments and HIV/AIDS education.