Screens4Hope, Invictus and the FIFA World Cup.

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There’s a scene in the movie Invictus that still lingers with me: Young boy standing outside the rugby stadium, catching the action from two nearby police officers’ car radio. The racial divide is tangible and the boy tries to steer clear. As the game unfolds, however their lives move closer; the young boy hones in. He gets closer and closer, in order to hear better. Love–for their country and the game–begins to unite them. In the end, the Springboks’ historic victory connects them, even for just a moment, across so many differences.

I was thinking of that scene yesterday when I learned about a new project in South Africa called Screens4Hope.

Imagine that same boy multiplied across the country in remote farming and mining communities, informal settlements and rural areas. That’s who we’re talking about.

Now think about the FIFA World Cup Soccer starting in a few weeks in South Africa.

These children will do whatever it takes to catch some of the action of their beloved game, including sneaking into adult establishments like bars and shebeens–not safe for children.

Screens4Hope has created a strategy to provide these children with television sets in a safe, communal environment. A place where they can catch the World Cup, just like the rest of the world. They are calling on companies, churches and individuals to sponsor a television set in these remote communities.

“They might be far away from the glitz and glamour of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Rustenburg where the FIFA 2010 soccer matches will be played, but still they are part of Mzansi*,” says Screens4Hope.

This is their mission:

  • To encourage corporates and other potential donors to think about the forgotten rural children who would also want to be part of the historic event.
  • Collect and donate television sets to communities in remote parts of the country including farms, mines and rural areas.
  • Encourage free shared viewing of games, at schools, crèches and community projects which will enhance community unity.
  • All donated television sets will belong to the communities they will be donated to .
  • Provide an alternative environment for children to watch the FIFA World Cup matches besides alcohol outlets which may expose them to abuse or abusing substances.
  • Screens4Hope is an initiative of the Trail of Hope Foundation.

    Growing up in South Africa, there used to be a television jingle for a furniture store called Joshua Doore: It said: “You have an uncle in the furniture business.” Today is one of those days when I wish I had an uncle (or aunt) in the furniture/electronics business. Maybe you do?

    * South Africa

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