Laureus announces exchange programme with Hong Kong 7s

Posted on Dec 7 2017 - 12:25am by admin

Cape Town, November 6, 2017


The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa hosted a special activation with the Blitzbokke today at the V&A Waterfront.

The event was held ahead of the SA leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Laureus was recently announced as the official charity for the Hong Kong 7s. The exchange programme will be hosted in April next year in partnership with the Laureus funded CoolPlay project and Hong Kong based Operation Breakthrough.

The programme will offer 12 young people from the CoolPlay project an opportunity to attend the 2018 Hong Kong 7s as well as provide vital skills and training, using crucial elements from both projects.

Attendees at today’s activation included current Blitzbokke flyhalf and Laureus ambassador Cecil Afrika as well as Stormers flanker Sikhumbuzo Notshe. They were joined by other members of the Blitzbokke who took participants from CoolPlay through a number of training drills. Also in attendance were Laureus ambassadors Ryk Neethling and Zanele Mdodana.

Stormers flanker and SA Sevens Academy player Sikhumbuzo Notshe at the Laureus and Blitzbokke activation at the VA Waterfront on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Greg Beadle

Operation Breakthrough is a ground-breaking project in Hong Kong, where sport is being used as a means of helping to fight crime and juvenile delinquency among low income and immigrant communities. It operates in partnership with the Hong Kong Police and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, and aims to help youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds or families that provide little or no support.

The project offers multiple sports such as rugby, boxing, football, contemporary dance, sailing and dragon boat racing. These sports are not usually available to the average working class child in Hong Kong, providing extra incentives for participants not to re-offend. The coaching, delivered by police instructors, teaches participants the importance of teamwork, trust, respect for others and discipline. So far the project is being seen as a remarkable success with reduced re-offending rates. There is also evidence of increased school attendance and greater integration into society.

Coolplay is a rugby based programme that uses sport to teach life-skills to school children often lacking in stable and supportive family structures. Their vision is to create positive and lasting change in the lives of children, their schools and the communities in which they live. The project currently runs sites in various locations across SA. The overarching goal of the programme is to uplift the youths’ social and emotional capabilities, and assist with improving their overall lives.

Laureus Ambassador Cecil Afrika pictured with his BlitzBokke teammates and members of the CoolPlay project. Picture Credit: Greg Beadle

“We are really excited to announce our new exchange programme. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that will provide the CoolPlay kids with vital skills and knowledge that will assist them in many facets of their lives in the future. It will also allow both CoolPlay and Operation Breakthrough, who are doing such remarkable work in their communities, to share some of their best practices and further demonstrates that by working together sport has the ability to unite all and change the world. I would also like to thank the Blitzbokke for being a part of today’s activation and would like wish them well ahead of this weekend’s tournament.” explains Morné de Plessis, Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, South Africa.

We would like to thank Laureus for the amazing opportunity not just for the youngsters that will be travelling abroad but for the CoolPlay project itself. We are extremely grateful to Laureus for their continued support over the years. We are certain that the youngsters attending will be enriched with a wealth of knowledge and it is certainly an experience that will change their lives” says Barry O’Mahony co-founder of CoolPlay.

Stormers and SA Sevens Academy player Sikhumbuzo Notshe at today’s activation at the Waterfront. Photo Credit: Greg Beadle

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa funds, supports and promotes the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation has a network of over 26 sport for social change organisations in over 100 communities using sport in innovative ways to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges facing our youth. Since its inception, Laureus SA has raised over R80 million for projects, which have helped to improve the lives of over 100k young people in South Africa.

The Laureus Exchange will be hosted from 3 to 9 April 2018 and will see 12 youngsters from various CoolPlay sites attending. The youngsters will have the unique opportunity to travel abroad and learn vital skills using sport as a tool to empower them and at the same time providing them with vital life skills to lead successful lives.

The BlitzBokke’s Cecil Afrika meets a participant of the CoolKids project at the Waterfront on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Greg Beadle