Our innovative Play Football for Life project which we ran from 2009 – 2011 helped many young people reflect on their lives through their involvement in sport.

By playing sport together with boys, girls realise they are equal and there is less bullying.
— Leslie, Play Football for Life Coordinator, South Africa

In Eastern Cape there are a devastating number of young people living with and at risk of HIV and AIDS. In 2010 it was estimated that 183,000 children in South Africa were in need of ART. Many of these young people saw their illness as insurmountable.


Play Football for Life was a remarkable programme, aimed equally at boys and girls, which One to One Children's Fund supported through its local partner Africaid-Whizzkids United. The aim was to create an AIDS-free generation through an approach centred on football, already hugely popular within Africa. The programme worked through schools to deliver a 10-hour Life Skills course spread across 6 weeks. After football training exercises, we would bring children together and ask them to apply the lessons they learned from training to their lives. Inspired young people learnt to apply the process of overcoming obstacles to achieve their goal to real life situations, such as dealing with their illness. The language of football was used to help educate children on HIV and equip them with the life skills needed to bring about positive behavioural changes.



  • By December 2011, over 2,800 children had benefited directly from this programme.

  • Local clinics were linked to schools, ensuring nurses and councillors had direct contact with the children and enabling them to reach out to families affected by HIV.

  • Life orientation teachers from two primary schools were trained to provide the Life Skills curriculum independently, bringing a strong sustainable element to this innovative project, which has since been taken over in its entirety.