#doDifferent through the Power of Sports

For years, sports has brought South Africans together - bringing happiness; unity; and camaraderie to all ages. It is probably the cornerstone of what we now know as the rainbow nation. But perhaps the most important outcome is the contribution it makes to children’s mental and physical development. 

This week we look at a South African company that has decided to #doDifferent and help uplift previously disadvantaged children through the power of sports.

ADreach is an outdoor advertising company founded by current CEO, Brad Fisher, in 1998 and to date has more than 40 000 Street Pole Ads nationwide. The Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club (SCARC) is Brad Fisher’s brainchild, as he is also an avid paddler. He established the club in 2003 after observing a significant lack of black paddlers in the sport, particularly in Gauteng. He, therefore, established SCARC as ADreach social development initiative that uses sport to uplift previously disadvantaged communities like Soweto. SCARC not only focuses on developing young people through sport but its members are also supported in education, career development and employment. Every afternoon, there is a teaching program run from a learning centre in Soweto, where teachers come to assist the children with specific subjects. While some members are training at Orlando Dam, others are studying at the learning centre. 

Majority of the children come from homes where nobody works, so the club provides them with food parcels that last about 2 weeks depending on the size of the family. The food parcels, training kit, travel costs and the 40 canoes are sponsored by ADreach, as well as other sponsors.

The club has produced talent like Siseko Ntondini, the first black South African to receive a podium place at the Hansa Fish Canoe Marathon in 2015 and was the inspiration behind the 2017 movie Beyond the River. Currently, the club has 62 members -recruited through friends and community members.

South Africa’s dismal appearance at the Olympics in Tokyo, is a constant reminder of why we need to invest in sports development at the grassroots level. You can also #doDifferent and help SCARC continue doing the good work that they do and teach these kids a new sport by making a small donation here.

Images by: The Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club