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National partner profile: South Africa

OASIS “Reach for Your Dreams” SA Homeless Street Soccer

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OASIS “Reach for Your Dreams” SA Homeless Street Soccer work to create developmental opportunities for young people across South Africa through participation in sport and education.

They focus on creating developmental opportunities for young men living on the streets, or those who live in very difficult circumstances within informal settlements. Each year they participate in the Homeless World Cup with the goal of giving opportunities to those less fortunate. They also offer accommodation to participants before and after the Homeless World Cup, with an emphasis on working out an exit plan.

SAHSS help the players prepare for the challenges of participation in the Homeless World Cup and a life off the streets when they return. The preparation for the tournament and the participation in the Homeless World Cup lead to positive changes in the lives of players including a new motivation for life, improved social relations with peers and family, permanent employment, a move to secure and safe accommodation, return to education, and substance abuse rehabilitation. To date, they have worked with more than 3,000 people.

Very clear growth has taken place within the organisation, and generations of former players now give back to the community by being involved with community organisations and coaching children. This demonstrates the immense potential of SAHSS, who are aiming to build their reach across South Africa, including remote rural areas where marginalised youth lack support.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement

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OASIS “Reach for Your Dreams” SA Homeless Street Soccer aim to shift the public attitude and policies towards homeless people, and to provide homeless and socially disadvantaged youth with the skills needed to integrate into family and community structures, including access to basic education and job skills.

Passionate about the power of football, they promote the Homeless World Cup to other organisations working with socially disadvantaged youth.

Goals for the future

Programme Development

To implement a more robust organisational structure

Tournaments

To solidify the 20/20 Street Soccer League as the channel through which players qualify for the Homeless World Cup

Women's Programmes

To continue to grow their women's programme and bring a women's squad to the Homeless World Cup

Additional information

Partner since

2006

Football Activities

SAHSS organise and coordinate street football leagues, tournaments and competitions, coaching clinics, sports administration training, and the selection of the South African Homeless World Cup Team.

Team selection

The selection process begins at the National Street Soccer tournament (during July) where 16 players are selected to participate in the final trial to represent South Africa at the Homeless World Cup. The final eight players are selected over a two-month period according to performance and personal development criteria.

Non-football services

SAHSS refer players to a governmental job placement programme and facilitate access to education and employment.

Participants challenges

Between 30-40% of the economically active population are unemployed or have stopped looking for employment. As much as 50% of the population live below the poverty line. HIV and Tuberculosis are prevalent in poor South African communities (INSP, 2014).

Country challenges

The problem of squatting and homelessness in South Africa dates back to the apartheid period and before. Black people were prevented by the 1885 Gold Law from owning and residing on land that had been claimed for mining. As a result, accommodation shortages and overcrowding of black suburbs has a long history, and it is both a creation of apartheid and a phenomenon of the post-apartheid era (Olufemi, 1998).

Homlessness definition

People living in shacks, both in informal settlements and in the backyards of township houses (but not as a first stage of building on a formal plot), are regarded as homeless. This limited definition gives a count of 1.5 million homeless people (UN Habitat, 2000).

Homelessness Statistics

There is a housing deficit of 2.5 million homes, and 7.5 million South Africans lack access to adequate housing. Millions of those who do have homes live in small, wooden shacks built in informal settlements (IRIN News, 2007). Due to high commuting costs, many people who have homes on the periphery prefer to sleep in the streets of the large municipal inner cities where they work (Du Toit, 2010).

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