Dane Labonte is just finishing his 6-month SCI internship posting in Durban, South Africa, where his worked focused on the green economy.
Sustainable Cities International funds demonstration projects around the world through partner organizations. The Learning for Life – Recreation for Girls demo project is based at the Amaoti 3 school located in the Amaoti informal settlement just outside of Durban. The project is managed by Indlela, a non-profit organization based in North Durban. The Recreation for Girls project hosts an after school programme including netball, aerobics, motivational talks and life skills lessons for groups of girls in grades 7, 8 and 9.
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss the project with 6 of the girls involved. All the girls spoke up and all were enthusiastic about the club. They were very outgoing, confident, and seemed to be genuinely happy to be involved with the girls recreation club. They placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that they were learning about building self-confidence and accepting their bodies, as well as, their enjoyment of the aerobics classes and the ‘music that gets you moving’.
The poverty in Amaoti cannot be ignored and there are significant safety concerns as the rates of crime and sexual violence are high. This makes the recreation club all the more important since it provides a safe place for girls to spend time after school. Many of the girls are expected to cook, clean and perform other household chores daily. Some of the girls mentioned that aside from school they were rarely allowed out of the house (this is likely due to their parents’ legitimate safety concerns). The girls recreation club gives them a space to play and have fun.
It was a pleasure to meet such confident and enthusiastic young women. The potential to expand to other schools is limited due to a lack of resources. However, Indlela has seen the potential for such projects and is strategizing on how they can sustain the programme at Amaoti 3 beyond the funding period.