For the learners at Silethukukhanya Secondary School, the simple act of drinking from a tap marked the completion of the first step in a new project that will see the development of a soccer pitch at this rural school in the Umkhanyakude District near St Lucia in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The Woolworths Trust is providing funds for the construction of the pitch, lights which will allow it to be used even in late afternoons and evenings during the winter months, and, of course, a bore hole, pumps and water tanks which, in addition to supplying water to ensure the pitch’s grass grows, are also providing fresh, clean water to the school. For the first time, learners can actually use the taps in their domestic science and science labs, and they no longer have to carry buckets of water to flush the toilets. The project grew out of Singaporean architect Swee Hong Ng’s winning entry in the 2005 INDEX Design for Life Award. This competition, organised by Architecture for Humanity, a U.S.-based non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting architectural solutions to humanitarian crises, challenged entrants to develop a sustainable design for a youth sports facility and HIV/AIDS outreach centre. In addition to the Woolworths Trust and Architecture for Humanity, other partners in the project are Mpilonhle, an NGO that is developing mobile units to bring health and specialised education services to rural schools, and East Coast Architects. “We first heard about this project at Design Indaba in 2007 from Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity,” explains Pieter Twine, one of the trustees of the Woolworths Trust. “We felt it was an ideal opportunity for the Trust – not only because of our focuses on education and orphaned and vulnerable children, but also our drive to help create sustainable schools in disadvantaged areas. The project is also aligned with Woolworths’ Good business journey commitment to social development in South Africa.” Of course with 2010 fast approaching, virtually everyone in the country is thinking about soccer. Twine continues, “Silethukukhanya School is situated in the Dukuduku Forest, one of the country’s most severely economically depressed areas. HIV and AIDS are rife, and there are virtually no sports facilities for the area’s young people. Despite this, the school boasts a 96% matric pass rate and the learners have started their own business growing indigenous trees which they sell. The more we learned about the school and its remarkable principal, the more determined we were to do what we can to help them. Not only will the soccer pitch give learners and members of the community the opportunity to participate in healthy activities like sport, with Mpilonhle as a partner it will also provide a base for much-needed health-related activities.” “The kids themselves are our greatest motivation,” adds Twine. “They really want to change their circumstances and create a better future for themselves. We are delighted to be able to help facilitate this development and are looking forward to its completion.” Construction of the soccer pitch is underway and should be completed by May. Ends NOTES FOR THE EDITOR • Architecture for Humanity is a U.S.-based non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting architectural solutions to humanitarian crises. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organisations and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need, believing that where resources and expertise are scarce, innovative, sustainable and collaborative design can make a difference. In 2004 Architecture for Humanity hosted an open international design competition to develop a youth sports facility and HIV/AIDS outreach centre. Out of 630 entries the winning designer, selected by the community, was Swee Hong Ng. It was this initiative that led to the development of the project at Silethukukhanya secondary school. For more information, please visit: The Medical Partner: Mpilonhle is a non-governmental organisation that is developing mobile units to bring health and specialised education services to rural schools in Umkhanyakude District of KwaZulu-Natal. The Mpilonhle programme will provide individualised health screening and treatment, including voluntary counselling and testing for HIV, group health education, and computer education for learners and members of the community via a computer lab, to these secondary schools using mobile health units. The mobile units will rotate between four schools. After school hours, on Saturdays, and on school holidays the facilities of the mobile units will be available to the community. Initial financial and logistical support for the Mpilonhle programme was provided by the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Program and Oprah’s Angels Network. The KwaZulu-Natal Departments of Health and Education have provided support and close cooperation for the programme. For more information about the project, please visit The Woolworths Trust: The Woolworths Trust was formed in 2003 as a consolidation of Woolworths’ social investment strategy. The Trust integrates Woolworths’ existing and future projects by serving as a focused channel for meaningful social investment and for the goals of Woolworths’ Good business journey relating to social development. The Trust effectively brings Woolworths in line with global best practices of corporate citizenship. The Woolworths Trust focuses on nutritional education, food security and environmental care, as well as addressing challenges of orphaned and vulnerable children- this is all done within the education system. These criteria reflect both national priorities and Woolworths’ experience and brand attributes. The Woolworths Trust EduPlant programme is the Trust’s main social investment project. The Trust will continue to donate approximately R100 million worth of food and R20 million worth of clothes to selected charities serving the needy and the poor. Woolworths Good business journey is a comprehensive 5 year plan announced in April 2007 to help people and planet. It incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths’ environmental focus and addressing climate change.