Young people in Johannesburg’s Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville often live in overcrowded, substandard accommodation and are regularly exposed to high levels of violent contact crime, neglect, poverty and volatile domestic lives. Many are refugees or asylum seekers who had fled in conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries and have experienced trauma. On average, youth in South Africa, experience 8 ‘highly traumatic’ events each year. Compounded over time, these could lead to young people in the country developing emotional conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, dysthymia and depression- conditions that compromise their ability to regulate behaviour, engage positively with peers and achieve at school.
FWI is a small organisation, based in the old city of Johannesburg, which provides a safe space for young people living in poverty or in the streets, young migrants and asylum seekers and those who are in trouble with the law. It combines boxing with an integrated youth development programme which focuses on Fitness (body weight training, running and boxing); Food (offering healthy food, cooking classes and nutrition support); Friends and Family (creating a positive peer culture); Feelings (psychosocial and educational support); and Fun (play). FWI was set up in 2006 by former boxed Anton Gilmore and child protection and neurodevelopment expert Luke Lamprecht and initially operated as part of the Teddy Bear Clinic’s Diversion Programme for youth in trouble with the law. It now provides a holistic package of support to equip young people with resources required to optimize their development physically, emotionally and academically. Although it is one of the few organizations that focus on the boy child they are also running a girls programme called Nirvana. Both Anton and Luke continue to be involved and have recently been joined by Sherri Errington, a research psychologists, who works to document the impact of the project. FWI is a member of Fight for Peace’s alliance and has been trained in its methodology.
EMpower’s 1st grant to Fight with Insight (FWI) is assisting the organisation in the expansion of their programmatic reach, opening of a second site and transferring of leadership of the site management and programme implementation to young programme graduates. Through this grant, 100 young people (20% female) are improving their physical and mental health, increasing their confidence and self-esteem and strengthening their capacity to protect their health. A total of 50 young people through this program are strengthening their sense of belonging and will have someone to turn to for advice and support both in the programme and in the communities in which they live. Finally this grant is supporting the design and pilot of a new life skills curriculum for cohorts of young people aged 15+.
Primary Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Funded Since: 2021
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