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S . African organization empowers disadvantaged youth through sports

South Africa

A non-profit organization Growing Champions is working to empower and inspire youth living in a poor and violent town outside Johannesburg, south Africa by changing their lives through sports.

Eldorado Park is notorious for drug related crime, topping the list in Gauteng Province, with more than 2,000 incidents reported in 2018.

Growing Champions, inspired by the fighting spirit of the late Willie Toweel, one of South Africa’s greatest boxers, has heard the call for help.

The organization empowers and uplifts children from troubled townships like Eldorado Park, through a football leadership and development program.

“We offer sport, we offer academic support, and we offer character development programs. So we teach them how to become good people with good choices, understanding what they stand for and living with integrity,” said Samantha Toweel-Moore, founder, Growing Champions.

Former Eldorado Park gangster and reformed addict,Delano Ayer has also been roped in to help. He mentors boys who have found a new home at the Growing Champions safe house.

“We unlock that pattern. The old behaviors, we unlock it, and it is almost like picking the lock. You never know when it is going to open, but with many of these kids, we have managed to pick the lock,” said Ayer.

Being a champion is about developing the physical and mental strength to compete against toughest opponent. In the same way, young people are taught how to beat adversity and live up to their full potential, without turning to a life of drugs.

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