Africa - Day Four Recap
Posted Sep 13 2005 1:57PM
The NBA and Ithuteng Trust Laundry Facility and Guest House Dedication Ceremony.
In previous years the NBA’s visit to the Ithuteng Trust has always proved to be a very emotive and unforgettable one – yesterdays’ trip to the poverty-stricken township of Soweto was certainly no different.
As a continuing part of the NBA’s community outreach efforts, today’s’ event centered on the inauguration of two new buildings; a Laundry room and a Guest House. Once again, the NBA players experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. From the painful theatrical performance, to the impressive gymnastic display, to the comic antics of guest Chris Tucker, it was further proof of the resolve of the young children in the face of adversity.
The Ithuteng Trust is a "youth empowerment program" that works to provide at-risk youth with life skills and education. Most of the 3,000 youngsters at the school come from extremely poor families, and a majority are orphans due to political violence, crime and/or AIDS. They had never felt loved until they came into the welcoming hands of Jackey Maarohanye, the founder and spiritual leader of the Trust, affectionately known as "Mama Jackey" by the students. One of the first things they are taught is to love themselves. ‘Don’t let what may have happened to you negatively impact the way you see yourself,’ reiterates Mama Jackey, ‘Instead, hold your head high, acknowledge your innate gifts and share this with others.’
Actor/comedian Chris Tucker, who was visibly touched by proceedings, was still able to lighten the mood; with the sun beating down he commented on the fact that the children were all wearing their school uniforms ‘I won’t talk for long as y’all must be real hot with those sweaters on!’
Since the first Basketball without Borders Africa Camp in 2003, the NBA and WNBA remains committed to the children at Ithuteng and to the work of Mama Jackey. Through the NBA/WNBA partnership, the Trust has built a Reading & Learning Center with new books and computers, dormitories and a new basketball court.
At the end of the day, the players, by this time dressed in traditional African garb, planted rose bushes in front of the newly opened buildings; as Jerome Williams commented, ‘Children are the flowers of the world.’
HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus
AIDS – Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome
The Global Picture:
The challenge of keeping the next generation HIV-free means far more resources must be invested in prevention among young people.
Day 4 photo gallery: Educating the youth