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Team Up South Africa
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Team Up South Africa
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A Game for Life
The Grassroot Project is a Washington DC-based organization that pairs college athletes with at-risk youth to educate them on HIV/AIDS awareness. Grassroot Soccer is a similar organization, teaming athletes with youth in developing countries and using soccer as a tool to teach HIV/AIDS prevention. Team Up South Africa brought kids from these two groups together to share their experiences and what they've learned.
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Produced and directed by Damian Petrou.

Find out more about Team Up.

Find out more about Grassroot Soccer.

Find out more about The Grassroot Project.

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Segment 1

COLESILA
There is one thing that I want to say. There is a difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV is a virus and AIDS is a disease.
TYLER
Sometimes it's overwhelming to talk about stopping AIDS or wanting to end poverty. It’s overwhelming to think there’s not much that you can do, but these kids really can do a lot and they really can have an impact on their communities.
COLESILA
I’m Colesila and I’m with Team Up 2010.
FRANCISCO GARCIA
My name is Francisco Garcia, I’m from Washington, DC, and I’m 14.
COLESILA
It's nice to meet the Team Up team because it was the first time for me to see them.
FRANCISCO GARCIA
They are not shy to show their expression, they would dance and teach me new things, they would teach me their language. Zulu, by the way.
TYLER
This is a pilot right here. This is an idea that we have had for almost a year now, and it's amazing to see it actually happening. I think it's incredibly powerful and incredibly important for programs like this to take place, especially when there is so much stigma. Sometimes you can feel like your world is so small and for them to be able to come halfway around the world and to interact with kids who are just like them in another part of the world and facing the same issues is incredibly powerful.
COUNSELOR
So your test came back negative for HIV.
BOY
Yes.
COUNSELOR
Wait up, wait up. I want to make sure you keep doing everything that you are doing and I want you to come back every six months. Okay?
BOY
Okay, I understand.
COUNSELOR 2
We can fight HIV by working together.
COLESILA
I think it's very important because I need to tell people more about what I’ve learned.
TYLER
The idea behind the programs involved in this, Grassroot Soccer and The Grassroot Project in DC, is that both use sports as a way to sort of break the ice and also as a really creative metaphor to teach important life lessons and also important life saving information about HIV.
FRANCISCO GARCIA
Yesterday’s experience playing with the orphanage and seeing their happy faces, knowing that they were enjoying their time, I probably won’t ever come back here so I did all I could and made sure they had the best time of their life.
TYLER
Overall I think that sports are a universal language, they cut across differences within Soweto, within Johannesburg, within South Africa and they also cut across differences in the United States. It’s a great resource to tap to talk about really serious issues like HIV/AIDS to sort of break the ice. I think that athletes have such a huge power to reach kids about serious issues and issues that are taboo because a lot of kids want to grow up to be an athlete. They want to grow up and keep playing sports and so they want to learn what athletes are interested in and what they care about and I think if you can engage an athlete on an issue like this it has so much power. Really the goal is to continue this concept of a team because these kids have a lot of challenges and I think if anything they’ve built incredible relationships that may not exist in their families, that may not exist in their schools or with their teachers.
COLESILA
I think they are different because of their language but in skin they are not different.
TYLER
It's also about changing this issue in your community and going beyond your own behavior and trying to help other people in they way you’ve been helped.
COLESILA
I wish to build my support team with my school, with my school classmates, and then make a group and then we tell more people information about HIV.
FRANCISCO GARCIA
I basically became friends with everybody from Soweto.
TYLER
When I was talking to these kids before we left, a lot of them thought that this was a service project, that they were going to be helping these kids out. But I think in a lot of ways the kids in South Africa have helped the kids in DC maybe more so than the opposite way.
FRANCISCO GARCIA
Just because a person has HIV or AIDS, that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends or play with them.
COLESILA
There is no problem that cannot be solved.
TYLER
In order to make any big change we have to understand what it takes to make a bold decision and then to be strong in any situation. You guys have all shown that.
COLESILA
It’s very important because when you are in a bad situation you have to be resilient.