Sifuna Kudlala is an officially registered non-government organisation (R7/50870) based in the Kingdom of Eswatini which has as its two main objectives:
● Introducing tennis to previously disadvantaged youth, with the objective of keeping children off the streets and instilling invaluable lifelong traits such as discipline, dedication, fair play and self-confidence.
● Upgrading neighbourhood Care Points that prepare orphaned and disadvantaged children, between the ages of 3-5 years, for formal primary school education. Care Points provide orphans and other vulnerable children with emotional support and care. They are also receive a balanced lunch and are taught about personal hygiene.
Brief background, history and motivation
Before registration, the organisation initially operated over 5 years (since May 2014) as a free tennis program for over 100 boys and girls between the ages of 6-18 years, from the Ezulwini Townships. An overwhelming number of participants come from single parent households or being raised by their grandparents, relatives or even siblings.
Audience demographics and past successes Overview
The success of the tennis program far exceed our expectations. Approximately one-third of all juniors competing in national tennis tournaments are products of Sifuna Kudlala iTennis. In addition the number one nationally ranked players in the boy’s under 12, 14 and 18 had their introduction to the sport and continue to be part of this program. Players such as Thando Bhembe (number 1 ranked player in the boys under 16/18), Sakhile Hlophe (number 2 ranked in the boys under 16/18), Andile Khumalo (top five under 16 girls) and Uviwe Vilakati, at only 11 years old, is ranked # 1 in the boys under 14. These four children have had the experience of travelling to Botswana, Namibia South Africa and Mozambique to participate in international junior tournaments as representatives of their country.
Encouraged by the success of the tennis program a group of individuals, with diverse areas of expertise, began looking into other ways that they could help other vulnerable children realise a brighter future for themselves through their involvement in educational and sports programs.
This led to our involvement with the Nyonyane Care Point which is one of the nine Early Childhood Care & Education Centre (ECCE) in Ezulwini. These neighbourhood centres provide a sort of haven for orphans and vulnerable children. Here they are provided with emotional support and care. The children also receive one meal a day at the centre, which in the case of far too many of these children, may be the only nutritional meal they will receive that day. We encourage the involvement of the community (elders, parents, guardians and the children) in our upgrade efforts and have seen the fruits of this collaborative effort.
NCP- Neighbourhood Care Point
Our NGO seeks to improve these centres by:
● Improving the building structure, replace pit latrine toilets with standard flushing toilets to improve hygiene and sanitation, and providing access to clean running water.
● Providing them with learning materials and classroom furniture such as desks & chairs, which provides a more conducive environment for children to learn. ● Providing financial support for the teachers at the care points.
● Food Security: Vegetable garden to enable the centre to grow their own food, in order that the children get a nutritional cooked meal daily. This will also ensure that the care centre will be self-sustainable and less dependent on international donors. This is something that’s very important to us.
● Income generation by selling surplus produce from vegetable garden to the local market (ex. chili pepper, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and pumpkin).
● Provide non-formal and after-school education activities such as homework area for school going children in the village, career counselling for children who seek advice on their future endeavou
● Introduction of mini-tennis programs which will accelerate the development of the children’s eye & hand coordination. Other physical activities that involve running, jumping, skipping, hopping, ball skills (catching, throwing, striking, and kicking) and balanced skills that help a child to develop their motor skills.
The Nyonyane Care Point (NCP) has about 50 children, between the ages 3-5 from challenging disadvantaged backgrounds. They learn reading & writing in a single classroom (of various ages). All the children are being taught by Teacher Thandeka, who does so from the pure goodness of the heart and with no remuneration whatsoever for her invaluable service to the Nyonyane community. She plays the role of teacher, nurse and caretaker to all of these children.
The Nyonyane Care Point (NCP) currently gets periodic support from the WFP (World Food Program) for porridge, and with the NCP vegetable garden, we are able to grow vegetables to supplement the children’s daily lunch.
Our NGO seeks to achieve the following with the kids within the tennis program:
• Earning tennis scholarships to colleges in the U.S.A
We are currently collaborating with the cultural centre of the US Embassy in the country to identify children, within our tennis program thirteen years old and above, who possess both the academic ability and the athletic skill to earn 2 year or 4 year scholarships to colleges or universities in the United States. Once identified, these children will be tutored and coached specifically to achieve these scholarships. This includes being given SAT and TOEFL college entry mock test during school holidays so they are better prepared when it’s their time to sit for these exams.
Our top tennis player, 15 year old Thando Bhembe, has set his site set on being the 1st to be awarded such a scholarship. If he achieves his dream he will be able to pursue his tennis ambition and, at the same time, earn a college degree. He is being raised by his mom, a single parent, who could never, on her salary, afford the cost of putting her son through college. We hope, that if Thando is successful in realising his ambition, it will then inspire future Swazi junior tennis stars to follow in his footsteps. Who knows? Perhaps within the next 5 years, Sifuna Kudlala iTennis may have groomed a pool of both male and female players that will be members of the Eswatini Davis Cup and Federation Cup teams.
How can you help?
Children that participate in the program come from disadvantaged, low income households. That means that their parents/guardians are struggling to make ends meet. Therefore things like rackets and tennis shoes are luxury items.
We therefore seek your material and/or financial contributions for any of the following:
● Rackets (junior and adult)
● Tennis balls
● Tennis Shoes
● Tennis wear
● Tennis Strings
● Sponsoring a future tennis star (includes: shoes, racket, tennis wear)
Our NGO stresses the importance of education and the amount of hard work that needs to be put in order to excel academically. In this regards we hold group study sessions after every Sunday training sessions whereby the kids sit together and help each other out with their homework and studies. They are also encouraged to take full advantage of the US Embassy Library which offers a wide variety of services such as books & magazines, internet and information regarding every college in the United States.
Therefore we are requesting the following items:
● Exercise books
● Books of literature for all ages
● Stationery and writing materials
● Educational material relevant for all primary & secondary grades.
● Children’s puzzles and games
PLEASE help us to continue to help them.
Our contact details: tel. +268 7949 3154/ What’sapp +268 7649 3154/
e-mail: [email protected]