In June 2018 I was part of a group of journalists who were invited by the TUI Care Foundation to visit a local project in Windhoek in Namibia. TUI supported 20 young women with grants to finance a trainee programme in the hospitality sector at the Silver Spoon Academy in Windhoek.
The young women have several things in common: they play soccer or follow another sports activity and they come from underprivileged families throughout the country. Some of the young ladies made it into the national soccer team of Namibia. To get into the hospitality programme they underwent a lengthy selection procedure and were finally selected.
How they came to play soccer? That was the most intriguing fact to me since soccer was not considered “a girls activity” in Namibia for a long time. UNICEF set up a national programme called “Galz and Goals” in 2009. In cooperation with the Namibian Football Association they established football leagues for girls of different ages. The soccer leagues were meant to provide healthy lifestyle activities for the girls as well as additional health information sessions.
Some of the young women I met were found by scouts while they played soccer in Katutura – the most underprivileged neighbourhood in Windhoek. They managed to attend training sessions at the girls centre of the Namibian Football Association (NFA). From there their success story started. With the training in the hospitality sector they stand a good chance to find decent jobs and make a living.