A project to upgrade the sports facilities at Ukhanyo Primary School is underway, with Masicorp currently raising funds to complete the second phase of the project.Masicorp is a non-profit organisation working in Masiphumelele to uplift the community, with a focus on education and keeping vulnerable youth off the streets and away from crime, drugs and gangs. The first phase, which was recently completed, saw the installation of a refurbished, multilayer netball/basketball court and sprint track.The school, which is home to 1700 learners, was initially built to accommodate 460 learners.“The principal, teachers, parents, pupils and education department are working hard and with great commitment to improve the situation, but unfortunately the school has insufficient resources to allow them to achieve a good level of education. This lack of resources is especially the case in the provision of physical education and sport,” says Masicorp spokesperson Paul Giess.All the pupils at the school were playing on a worn out netball court. The court was also the only space for the school’s five soccer teams to play.This was replaced by a refurbished court. A new multipurpose court with artificial grass will now be installed. Two more phases are planned after this to create another multipurpose court and rehabilitate the existing cricket nets and long jump course, as well as create a new Astroturf soccer field.Giess adds: “Like education itself, sport can provide a route out of poverty for those with the talent and energy to pursue sports activities. Young people participating in both school and after-school community sports programmes learn skills and values that are learned by being part of a team.”Matthew Schroeder, a volunteer at the school, is calling on locals to help fund the project. He is currently looking for a sponsor to donate sports shoes to the children.“Half of the children don’t have shoes to play in – they either play in their school shoes or barefoot. The shoes would be kept at the school for safety and to make it sustainable – they could be passed down to future classes,” he explains.Schroeder is also running fitness and mixed sports classes for children at Muizenberg beach. The proceeds from these training sessions go towards the construction of the facilities.“Studies have shown increased development in sports have a knock-on effect – they create safe spaces and increase children’s ambition. They also produce better school marks and gender equality.”The sessions at the beach cover a range of sports and team building skills, Schroeder explains, across disciplines such as cricket, touch rugby, hockey and yoga. The focus is placed on playing and being fit, rather than mastering any one sport, as well as learning life skills through sport, he says. V For more information on the project visit www.masicorp.org. V For information on the training sessions find SCHOOLSandSUMMITS on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.