As part of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6th, we are taking a look at the programmes we support all over the world, with today’s piece focussing on the continent of Africa. So far there are two squash programmes the PSA Foundation have partnered with in Africa that both use squash to improve quality of life in underserved communities.
A part of the world that doesn’t receive enough coverage within the wider squash landscape, Africa boasts some very passionate squash communities. Egypt is a transcontinental country, though a major portion of the country lies in Africa, a small portion (Sinai Peninsula) lies in the continent of Asia. Egypt currently has the most registered players on the PSA Tour at 13%, South Africa with the next highest in the continent with 4.7% of registered players.
EGOLI SQUASH – SOUTH AFRICA
Egoli Squash is an outreach programme of Central Gauteng Squash established in 2009 in South Africa and uses the platform of sport as a catalyst to empower learners to see opportunities outside of the cycle of poverty and crime in their communities. Their programme bolsters this with a variety of extracurricular and educational activities that help improve future career prospects, such as support with homework and practical skills like sewing and woodwork manufacturing. Egoli Squash serve around 150 regular weekly juniors, but reach thousands through their school outreach work.
Egoli Squash supports people from the disadvantage communities within the inner-city of Johannesburg, Soweto and Alexandra. Within these communities the infrastructure is poor and many residents live in densely populated areas, amid high levels of poverty, crime, HIV/AIDS and unemployment. Amid such deprived conditions, youths tend to resort to risky behaviour and easily fall into a cycle of HIV-infection, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and violence.
Despite the aspects of poverty and crime prevalent in the Chiawelo community for example; Egoli Squash is making transformation possible through the sport of squash. They can do this thanks to the support from Squash South Africa and with funding from SRSA (government department of sport and recreation South Africa).
Over the last year Egoli Squash have been standing strong against the effects of the pandemic, with great success in their Youth Empowerment Ubuntu Drive providing nutritional support; academic support and psycho-social assistance to 1000+ vulnerable Inner-city, Soweto and Alex youths and their families. With safety measures in place, their talent pathway juniors have fortunately now been able to return to court. With restrictions still in place, Egoli Squash have adapted their grass roots participation activities, continuing adapted squash outdoors with schools and local communities.
To find out more about Egoli Squash, visit: http://egolisquash.co.za/
ZIMBABWE EDUCATION & SQUASH TRUST – ZIMBABWE
The Zimbabwe Education Squash Trust (ZEST) was established in Harare, Zimbabwe, with the aim of developing the talents of underprivileged children from vulnerable areas through squash and academic support.
The programme mentors young boys and girls from under privileged backgrounds in Zimbabwe to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor by introducing them to squash and propelling them to reach new heights in academics as well as sport.
The academy invests in the futures of the juniors by providing mentorship in all facets of life, not just squash. The guidance, as well as scholarships that are provided by ZEST, are key to helping these juniors lead successful and fulfilled lives and also helps to create a positive impact on their communities and beyond.
The founder and trustee of ZEST believes that the juniors have not yet got adequate opportunity to improve and showcase their talents. ZEST embodies this principle at the heart of this mission and is a strong force in fuelling positive change in Zimbabwe. They believe that education is key to teaching skills and thereby enhancing productivity and creativity.
ZEST has struggled significantly by the effects of the pandemic, with most of indoor sports called off over the last year in Zimbabwe. Resources have been stretched and unfortunately the programme has largely been postponed until the restrictions lift. The founder and Trustee is very passionate about the power squash can have on their local communities and will look to relaunch the programme fully when restrictions ease.
You can follow the activities of ZEST on their Facebook profile here: https://www.facebook.com/zim.est