Emanuel increases awareness about HIV through football
Emanuel Raptis is in Cape Town, South Africa. He lives in a small house together with seven other people who are doing voluntary work and he works together with the Grassroot Soccer organisation to prevent the spread of HIV among young people in South Africa’s shanty towns. Football is something that gets many young people smiling. Even if the community around them is on the verge of falling apart, young people can find an escape and source of happiness on the football pitch. It is the sense of happiness and fellowship created by football that Grassroot Soccer has succeeded in exploiting. Using the power of football, they organise, inspire and educate young people aged between twelve and nineteen in how to protect themselves and those around them from HIV.
– It’s wonderful to see how football can mobilise and inspire young people to produce change in their surroundings and communities, says Emanuel.
How did you come to choose the organisation to do voluntary work with?
– Football has always been a part of my life and the thought of using sports to produce change in a way where everyone can participate appealed to me. By chance I found Grassroot Soccer, the perfect combination of an organisation that has reached out to over a million young people across the world in just over ten years, and that uses an innovative and playful method to produce meaningful change in young people’s lives.
Do you have any tips for people who feel that they would like to get involved but who don’t really know where to start?
– My experience is that it takes both time and energy to get involved, more than you might think. For that reason it’s good to first get a feel for what it is that you feel passionate about, and then you can transform that passion into energy. In my case, I was very interested in football in my younger days, but more recently my interest had started to cool off. Instead I’d started developing an interest in international development and entrepreneurship. But it wasn’t until I put all these three pieces of the puzzle together that I experienced my revelation. I was lucky enough to find an organisation that matched my passion.
Would you like to know more about Grassroot Soccer? Check out a video of the local youth leaders here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P69ykmNUBz8 or visit their website by clicking the link below.
Text: Lucella Bergström