Great Start to Valentine’s Day

Live Healthy Love Healthy: Soccer @ Your Library event

U.S. Consul General Teddy Taylor joined in the fun, kicked a ball to post, and later posing with learners and organizers for this post-game shot
U.S. Consul General Teddy Taylor joined in the fun, kicked a ball to post, and later posing with learners and organizers for this post-game shot

Pupils from schools around the city centre kicked-off Valentine’s Day the right way on Friday, February 13 when they participated in soccer-based HIV awareness.

Noisy kids filled the square outside the Cape Town Central Library lining up to take their shot at the goal. U.S. Consul General Teddy Taylor too joined in with the fun and kicked a ball to post.

Taylor explained the American Corner, USInfo@Central, worked with its partners to host the Live Healthy Love Healthy: Soccer @ Your Library event.

“We want to increase HIV awareness and encourage people to use their library, reclaiming public space for fun, safe, healthy activities.”

“Soccer has given me the opportunity to be the person I am today. Football has helped me to prevent risk for HIV or teenage pregnancy. It’s given me a lot of strength,” explains Coach Sidondi
“Soccer has given me the opportunity to be the person I am today. Football has helped me to prevent risk for HIV or teenage pregnancy. It’s given me a lot of strength,” explains Coach Sidondi

The U.S. Consulate General, Cape Town worked with the City of Cape Town’s Central Library and USAID funded Grassroot Soccer.

U.S. Consulate General partner, TB/HIV Care Associated, also provided free voluntary HIV testing and counselling. Altogether 41 people were tested in the two hours they were set up outside the library.

Coach Athiphila Sidondi, 20, a Grassroot Soccer Caring Coach, said playing soccer gave her confidence and educated her about the risks of HIV and AIDS. “It’s given me the opportunity to be the person I am today. Football has helped me to prevent risk for HIV or teenage pregnancy. It’s given me a lot of strength,” she said.

Positive role models are crucial to keep youth HIV-free and provide opportunities for them to become leaders on and off the field. Grassroot Soccer trains Caring Coaches to become role models for young people, and creates safe spaces for youth to play soccer, take action in their communities and access information about HIV and AIDS.