27 May 2012
Steward and nine other students from the teacher’s college program at Brock participated in the one-month program under the guidance of Professor Sharon Abbey. The put their educational training to good use, teaching in South African schools as part of the in-classroom experience required for their degre
Along with their educational knowledge, the group brought bags full of gifts for the South African kids, including a number of soccer balls and jerseys from OSC.
“It was like Christmas morning to them,” she said. “They were so excited to get the soccer stuff. The smiles on their faces were amazing.”
In addition to soccer equipment, the group also brought donated books, glasses, shoes and two laptop computers.
The teachers spent nearly every day working in the classroom, but also had the opportunity to visit a local orphanage and a group called Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA), a South African organization that offers support for grandmothers raising grandchildren who have lost their parents to poverty-related illnesses or AIDS.
Although the trip was sometimes emotionally daunting, Steward says it was amazing to speak with the local children and learn about their lives.
“The most interesting part of the trip was hearing the stories of the kids,” she said. “The things that they have gone through are remarkable. They all have a story. It definitely taught me to get to know my kids that I’m teaching.”
Steward, a former OSC Rep player and member of the Toronto Lady Lynx junior squad, was able to enjoy the beautiful game with the local children as they tested their new OSC equipment in the little parks outside the schools, GAPA and the orphanage.
After everything that she experienced on her journey, Steward recommends that anybody presented with a similar opportunity to travel to developing countries should do it and take the chance to experience a whole new world.