Atlas Foundation coach Xolani has been making masks for the kids in the Masiphumelele township. Named Masiphumelele by its residents, which is a Xhosa word meaning "let us succeed".


Indeed Xolani and Frank have been doing just that and embracing the Atlas spirit of hard work, integrity and respect by putting his efforts into supporting the kids in the township. Right now our kids are more vulnerable than ever but small acts like this really do make a difference. 


Many of our kids have no access to clean water for washing or drinking, no money to buy basic medicines like paracetamol that could reduce a temperature and save a life. Social isolation is impossible and many have already lost parents to AIDS and live with a grandparent. You can give to our basic medical and food supplies fund here: 


Take a look at the pictures below as Atlas Foundation coaches Frank and Xolani visit families in the township of Masiphumelele, south of Cape Town. For many, the opportunity to socially distance is extremely challenging with small houses and narrow streets. On top of this, virus-fighting measures like good, consistent hydration is also challenging where many don't have (easy) access to clean running water. The places where many street children would normally get food have also closed down, and for those children prison a more attractive alternative. An article in The Guardian last week, cited an example in Kenya where “you are sure to get free food, shelter and medical services," things which they would not otherwise have living on the street. Later on, the article draws attention to children who are using drugs or have contracted HIV and cannot get access to the right treatment. We've already seen how in the UK there has been a drop in hospital attendance and the government is having to think of solutions to make sure people can get the urgent treatment they need - think of this problem but 10 times worse.

One of our kids wearing the masks made by Xolani.

Frank delivering more masks to families in the township.

The crisis exacerbates many of the problems already experienced in the townships including malnourishment and lack of sanitation.

We've been working with the kids at Masiphumelele and Ocean View High School for almost a year now with our All School programme in Cape Town, and they've already been reaping the benefits. From playing in old school kits lent from the UK, they now have shiny new Atlas kits which bond the players together and give them the feeling of team spirit. Their new kits were presented to them in the autumn last year by Springbok centurion and Atlas champion, Percy Montgomery.


Furthermore, the programme was given a boost when lots of local support came out to help the kids clear the playing pitches so they had a clean and safe space to train. And with multiple opportunities to learn at the hands of professionals, the kids spirits have stayed high and they have learned an incredible amount. First there was a skills session at Loftus Versfield with Springbok legends including Bakkies Botha and Danie Gerber, and just before Christmas, the Scotland 7s team came to teach them a few tricks.


One of the most heartwarming tales of this project is of a young boy called Bathini Futumane, who attended almost every training session. He missed two sessions because of the fire in Masiphumelele. Bathini and his family lost everything in that fire but he played both games on the Friday and Saturday of that week. He was named Man of the Match against Bluecoat High School, and the visitors could not stop marvelling at his skills; he scored a 70m try that left them speechless. Beyond his genius, he showed great resilience to overcome his adversity.


Once again, in the face of great challenges, this programme shines through as a great heartwarming example of the good that rugby communities can do. We are proud of Xolani for his latest endeavour, and thank all the coaches and organisers for their hard work to support the amazing kids at Masiphumelele and Ocean View High Schools.

For the Guardian article mentioned above: