With social upliftment being a key element in the development of South African society, projects promoted by non-governmental organisations such as ‘Oasis Reach For Your Dreams’ are essential. The organisation seeks to contribute to holistic social development in communities through various social upliftment programmes and spoke to VOC on their latest achievements in the Homeless World Cup.
“Oasis, as an organisation, has been running as an NGO based in Schaapkraal, Phillipi, for the last 20 years. Our involvement in the Homeless World Cup started when the initiative began in Cape Town, which the city hosted in 2006,” said Founder of Oasis Reach For Your Dreams, Clifford Martinus.
“Oasis has been working with street people from the CBDs and eventually set up preventative programmes within our local communities of Parkwood, Nyanga, Gugulethu and the Ottery areas. The idea is to put preventative programmes in place, using sport as a means of social engagement.”
The 2019 Homeless World Cup is to be hosted in Cardiff, Wales. Participants come from all over the world and Palestine is one such country that is eligible to participate.
“The World Cup includes young people from socially challenged communities and youth trying to get out of the cycle of gangsterism and drug abuse. As an individual, you have to be linked to social engagement or some social service organisation – be it a church, mosque or NGO. That’s how you can be referred to Oasis for try-outs for the Homeless World Cup,” said Martinus.
“We cannot take young people overseas only to then return them to communities where there’s no support mechanism in place. We focus on building relationships and on social development. Now that the mayor has pledged his support as well, we trust that this process can grow.”
Fixtures are 15 minutes long and the South African team has recently defeated Ireland in an exhilarating 6-5 victory.
“Now the team goes into another pot of winners groups…We hope to move on and into the top eight rankings because that is where we are currently at in the world.”
“It [the game against Ireland] was such a show of character…If we can apply that mindset to their lives…they outplayed Ireland until the last second. That’s what we are meant to do in life,” Martinus said proudly.
“In 2015 we ended as fifth and last year in Mexico we were sixth. It’s about the journey of earning a passport and an opportunity to be away from drugs…the choice lies with them.”
Unfortunately, the World Cup is only open to entrants over the age of 18 due to logistical practicalities.
The World Cup is an annual event and those wanting to contribute are welcomed by Oasis to do so.
“We always extend friendship to anyone that wants to contribute. We aren’t saying come and give us money – come and provide your skill and guidance as well.”