Pass the Ball not the Virus

Using rugby as a vehicle for engagement, we create safe and fun environments to educate children on HIV/AIDS and its cultural causes in Eswatini, the worst affected country in the world. It tackles gender and healthcare inequalities and taboos to empower the children and create a healthier future. 

Overview

CategoriesBeneficiaries
– Health and Wellbeing
– Education
– Gender inequality
– Children at over 600 schools across Eswatini

Situation

No other nation is affected by HIV/AIDS like Eswatini is. The strong regressive culture causes many women and girls to suffer domestic and sexual violence, often with devasting transmission and infection impacts. As AIDS profoundly depletes the country’s labour force, 120,000 children are orphaned and the phenomenon of children raising children is sadly too common. Children become workers, leaving school and selling themselves into child marriage. Right now, 45% of children are vulnerable. 

Solution

SKRUM is our local partner in Eswatini tackling the cultural barriers to HIV/AIDS reduction. Our sessions provide a safe place for children to learn and ask questions, breaking the taboo of HIV that has enabled it to persist for so long. We can inspire better leaders in the community, teaching young boys to understand and respect girls, mitigating the generational sexual violence. When socio-cultural roots of HIV and economic barriers to health care are removed, communities can thrive. 

“No other organisation is visiting schools and giving lessons in HIV/AIDs. It’s very important pupils are made aware.” 

Mrs. Nkwanyane – Head Teacher 

“The teachers thought it was a very helpful lesson given by different people. Especially the girl’s health, hygiene, and empowerment.” 

Mrs. Dlamini – Head Teacher 

“No one talks about HIV/AIDs, so it’s good when SKRUM visits. And we get to play rugby.” 

Unnamed Student

Aims

  • Our primary aim is to reduce the figures of HIV/AIDS infection amongst Eswatini’s youth, offering hope to the children for a better and healthier future. We continue to develop the resources and education offered to the children to ensure the children receive the best and up-to-date help available. 
  • Reach the remote rural schools – so far we have reached 82% of all schools in Eswatini but the remote villages remain a challenge due to road conditions and network access. But these are the villages that need us most so we are aiming to develop reliable ways to connect with these schools. 
  • Provide sanitary items – Menstruation and sexual health remains a taboo in Eswatini. We are creating a provision of re-useable sanitary items for girls that respect cultural norms but allow girls dignity and the funds raised can make this project viable and successful. 

How we use your donations

  • £10,000 – Coaches/Educators Salaries  
  • £6,000 – Vehicle – fuel, insurance, maintenance
  • £500 – Communications  
  • £1,000 – Pamphlets  
  • £2,500 – Female hygiene products  

Impact

This project helps vulnerable children exposed or at risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS to access vital education, care and health guidance. 23,313 children have been supported across 682 schools and the empowerment of children to manage their health has become a positive catalyst for change with a 52% reduction in HIV cases since 2010. Educated, inclusive and knowledgeable children are building healthier and happier futures for each other and giving children the chance to thrive.