At Reach Sports we are committed to giving youth access and opportunities to realise their potential on and off the sports field. In February, we had a training opportunity in Malaysia and enrolled a talented young South African facilitator to co-deliver with us.
Katlego Malaka, is an intelligent young man from Alexandra township, south of Johannesburg, South Africa. He is quiet, and unassuming. If you did not know any better you would not think he was a facilitator. However, give him an opportunity to work with people and he comes alive. His sheer love, enthusiasm and commitment to improving others and learning is refreshing. In Malaysia, we got to work with him and he was INSPIRING.
We asked Katlego to share his experiences:
Life has a way of giving us back for the good that we do to help others. I have been involved in sports facilitation for over 7 years, sharing my knowledge and skills with youth across South Africa. One of my greatest dreams was to facilitate outside South Africa.
When I got invited to join #TeamReach in Malaysia, I thought I was dreaming. I asked myself why me? Especially considering my upbringing and the fact that I have never facilitated internationally before. I had many fears and doubts, such as, what if I was not good enough? What if I let Mthoko down? What if I can’t do what he thinks I can do? However, on my way to the airport, I told myself that I was chosen amongst a group of great youth facilitators. I knew he must have seen something positive in me to give me this opportunity. I was flying to Malaysia to grow myself and help grow Reach Sports.
We at Reach Sports knew that we had made the right choice. We had selected Katlego from a group of youth leaders we have worked with and the skills he has demonstrated in leading and facilitating projects. We believe in his potential and knew we could trust him in working with important partners.
Malaysia was life changing in many ways and I felt like a child in a toy store, discovering all these gifts I had and the beauty of experiencing a new culture. I do not know anyone in my community who has been to Malaysia. The people and culture in Malaysia are extraordinary. I enjoyed that people of Malaysia believe in sharing. I learnt that people of Malaysia pray a lot even in schools they encourage their kids to pray. In South Africa I have witnessed Gender Based Violence against woman, the culture in Malaysia is set up in a way that woman are respected and are given equally opportunities as man. I grew up in a community where young people don’t respect elders and vice versa, but in Malaysia it was a different case, everyone respects one another regardless of their age, race, religion or gender.
Reach Sports was in Malaysia to deliver a training workshop for army veterans and teachers. The training was aimed at using the power of games and play to teach life skills in schools across Malaysia. This ambitious programme involves multiple stakeholders from the government, schools, community to create a programme that helps young people learn about 5 core values in a safe environment. The values are: Confidence, Integrity, Resilience, Teamwork and Respect.
We facilitated sessions to a group of veterans and teachers who were amazingly receptive. This was a fantastic learning experience for me and I was privileged to work alongside Mthoko. I learnt a lot about how to work with stakeholders, manage a bigger group and different ways in which you can get your message across to a large group of people who are speaking a different language. I valued the importance the veterans and teachers placed on gaining knowledge and this helped understand the importance of ensuring that as a facilitator I was skilled enough to be able to share the right information, in the right manner and at the appropriate time. I also gained new skills, different content and delivery methods around creating fun and interactive spaces for participants. The most important part was the feedback I received from, the training participants and Mthoko which I found to be constructive and helpful for my growth and development.
With the help of Katlego, Reach Sports was able to deliver training to close to 150 veterans and teachers over four days. We are grateful to our partners in Malaysia for the opportunity to work in Malaysia.
Although we had early starts and sometimes finished working in the early evenings, Malaysia was not all work. I got to make new friends that I would never have had the opportunity to meet. I also discovered I was an adventurous foodie, who is not afraid to try different cuisines. I was exposed to and enjoyed Malaysian traditional food a lot, they cook their rice and chicken so well. I got a chance to try Japanese, Indian, Chinese and Thai, foods I have never tried before. My favourite foods I tried were the Malaysian fruit called Durian, and a fried frog. I never thought I could eat frog, but it was fantastic, it tasted like 'chicken'.
I am an organised and an honest person, which has helped me follow a path of leadership development and facilitation. As a goal-oriented person, I am passionate about helping others to achieve their own goals. I am a strong believer in leading by example. To demand excellence from others one must strive for excellence in themselves. My community is very important to me and I want to ensure that my work contributes to improving my community. I always wanted to travel around the world and learn about what works well in other countries and how I could apply this in Alexandra and other communities around South Africa.
I believe the opportunity to travel to Malaysia will open more doors for me in South Africa and internationally in terms of facilitation. This opportunity has cemented my commitment to help others.
I would like to inspire youth in South Africa and beyond, to engage in Sports for Development activities. They don’t necessary have to coach but they can teach their peers about the importance of using fun and engaging physical sports activities to help kids learn about more than just sport.
We celebrate the power of sport to make a difference in communities around the world.