Ascendis Health

News – Oct 2017


The Ascendis – Health of the Nation programme has been in full swing these past months with the Sporting Chance team visiting 34 schools across 4 provinces in South Africa. On completion of the programme in mid October, Ascendis – Health of the Nation will have reached 40 schools and worked with over 20 000 learners.

The 2017 programme began in the Western working with 5 schools in the communities of Langa, Mitchell’s Plain, Khayelitsha, Manenberg and rural Constantia. With each community having its own set of challenges and the school facilities being vastly different one of the great strengths of the programme is that it’s adaptable. Our team take the available facilities and through innovation create a Physical Education ‘playground’, demonstrating hands on what games, exercises and drills can be done with the available resources. The intention is to eradicate the excuse of lack of facilities and embed Physical Education and healthier lifestyles into the schools’ curriculum and mantra.

We then moved onto the Eastern Cape to the communities of Mdantsane, Duncan Village and Buffalo Flats reaching   2620 learners across 5 schools, working individually with 15 Grade 3 classes and up skilling over 30 educators. In Mdantsane, the biggest township in South Africa, the conditions and facilities at the schools are dire, with a constant battle for basic resources such as water and electricity. Educators have to go outside the school grounds to collect water for basic necessities such as encouraging the learners to wash their hands. Despite this, the schools have an extremely positive vibe and they were delighted to welcome the Ascendis – Health of the Nation programme.

At all five schools we were warmly welcomed by the learners and educators and they couldn’t wait to share with us how they’ve been trying to implement Physical Education structures as a fixture in their syllabus. The assembly sessions were impactful with the learners taking centre stage and sharing their charismatic moves with us. The education modules were intense and the need for the messages and material that our programme delivers was so evident. We went overtime in each Grade 3 class as we could see these learners needed and thrived on that extra bit of attention. A significantly impactful week although still more work to be done with these schools and the greater communities. Our mentorship phase will be crucial in ensuring we can make on-going change happen.

The road show then set off for a lengthily stay in Gauteng over a three week period reaching 8300 learners across 15 schools, working individually with 60 Grade 3 classes and up skilling over 78 educators. Starting in the Pretoria communities of Shoshanguve, Atteridgeville, Mamelodi and Olievandhoudsbosch before moving to the communities of greater Johannesburg. Traversing around all of the City of Joburg’s regions and working in schools in Denver, Coronationville, Dieplsoot, Zandspruit, Ivory Park, Finetown, Dobsonville, Slovoville, Alexandra, Riverlea and Cosmos City.

The Gauteng leg was fantastic and while there are always schools that need more intervention than others we can see the impact the Ascendis – Health of the Nation and the Jungle Vites sports challenge has had and will continue to have going forward. South Africa’s under resourced schools have so many challenges and they desperately need encouragement in putting healthy lifestyle structures in place and we are excited to be investing with them.

In addition to the edutainment assembly session and the education modules conducted in class, the Jungle Vites Sports Challenge has been the favourite part of our visit for many of the learners. Many children in our township communities just want the opportunity to ‘play’ – the opportunity to participate in structured physical education or sport in their school environment and through this programme we are aiming to turn this into a reality.

Overall to date the response to the Ascendis – Health of the Nation programme from the schools has been phenomenal, they have embraced the concept from its introduction and have showed their avid interest in its objectives. On numerous occasions we’ve had learners following us out of the school, not wanting us to leave. It’s those goose bump moments of impact when our hearts are bursting full!

The programme is currently in KZN before concluding the 2017 roll out with the remaining communities in the Western Cape.