Harry joined in with training sessions, took part in the educational discussions about HIV and AIDS, and even showcased his dancing ability, with the wide smiles on the youngsters’ faces evidence of the positive impact of his visit. Grassroots Soccer, who manage the centre, use football to educate, inspire, and mobilise young people to stop the spread of HIV.
Those caring adults, the 20 coaches at the centre, work with thousands of children every year.
“It’s easy to educate the children by using the thing they love and that they are doing during their free time,” Wonderboy Sibiya, one of the Grassroots Premier Skills Coaches, said. “If you give them something that they love, that makes it easy to teach them the things that are affecting their lives, which is to make them be aware of the disease that is killing the youth.”
The numbers of deaths from HIV in Africa may be decreasing overall, but recent figures released by UNICEF revealed the only age group not seeing a decline in mortalities from the disease are adolescents. That makes the work of organisations like Grassroots Soccer, and the endorsement by stellar names like Prince Harry, all the more important.
“He is one of the few celebrities who still makes a lot of measured and thoughtful statements around HIV,” Donald concluded. “Somehow, more than 20 years into fighting the disease, we’re still scared to have conversations like that, so it’s very helpful that Prince Harry has shown a commitment to HIV prevention.”