Posted on June 24, 2010
Together, Komati and Real Madrid Foundation are creating these academies in South Africa in collaboration with the University of Pretoria and University of Johannesburg for the sport component.
Speaking on behalf of Real Madrid Foundation, Emilio Butragueño Santos, Director of Public Affairs and Institutional Relations of Real Madrid Football Club says “Real Madrid Foundation uses sport’s values of discipline, sacrifice, tolerance and teamwork to develop the personality and work ethic of the learners and to encourage community development”.
He continued by adding, “We wanted to expand our African operations and are confident that South Africa is the ideal place for this to happen. Komati Foundation is well established in this region and has extensive experience in the fields of education and social welfare with the local communities. As many of their volunteers have also worked in Spain and are very familiar with the Real Madrid Foundation ethos, it seemed like the natural fit for us.”
Childline South Africa, a non-governmental organisation aimed at the protection and development of children, will support the educational component of the programme. Some 360 children in disadvantaged public schools in Mamelodi and Soweto will benefit from these academies in the first year of operation. The academies will also involve the collaboration of volunteers from private schools.
“The primary purpose of this academy is to promote the inherent value of sport as an educational activity which contributes to the positive and holistic development of the human personality. It will combine sports training with extra tuition in mathematics, science, languages, computer skills and life orientation,” added Andrew Woghiren of Komati Foundation.
Learners will consist of boys and girls between the ages of six and 17 years old from the entire spectrum of society and also include children with physical and mental disabilities. The sporting ability of the learners is not a prerequisite to be a participant. Real Madrid Football Club is not seeking talent; this is a purely altruistic initiative.
Real Madrid Foundation brings their garnered expertise and experience from their established international academies and they are to provide their advice, along with the local partners, on how to ensure maximum benefit to the community over the long-term. Specifically as regards sports, this advice also extends to the provision of training manuals for the coaches and scheduling of activities for the children. The sport element of the academy is expected to provide at least two training sessions a week and will involve general exercise and fitness training in addition to specific football training and technique development.
Through the alliance with Childline, the educational element will take place in schools that are attended by the learners in the academy and will focus on basic education, skills development and the promotion of human values and a culture of peace. As a result of their extensive experience in working with children from a variety of backgrounds and environments, Childline is best suited for providing these services and adapting any life skills programmes specific to the academy. This will not only benefit the learners, but also their parents and teachers through their acquisition of additional life skills.
Real Madrid Foundation is fully committed to ensure the proper implementation and development of the academy as they have done, with great success, with their academies in Sierra Leone, Morocco (Rabat and Tangier), Argentina, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay, and the Schools for Peace in Israel and Palestine.
“We are extremely excited about the imFunda initiative, and it is our hope and intention that the girls and boys who benefit from these assisted sport and academic programmes are able to change the path of their lives and enjoy opportunities that come their way, which they may otherwise not have encountered,” said Woghiren.