Grassroot Soccer – The beautiful game changing lives through healthy living

This week I’m actually showcasing two digital stories, both part of Grassroot Soccer, an adolescent health organization in Africa.  The first story is David’s Story – about a young man in Zambia who uses soccer as a way to share his story of AIDS and the hardships it brought to his family.   The other story is about Athi and her struggles as a lesbian wanting to play soccer in South Africa, and how it brought her the freedom she was missing.

dsc_0349bDavid Kapata is a 27 year old coach and program coordinator for Grassroot Soccer, and he brings a message of hope to Zambia which has an HIV prevalence rate of 18.2% among young people.  His mother died from AIDS when he was nine years old, and then his younger sister died from an AIDS-related illness seven years later, which left him bitter and angry.  But at the age of 16 he became a participant in the GRS program, eventually working his way up to coach and a GRS staff position

He was so inspired by the coaches that he worked with that he decided to become one of them from the time he joined.  It not only gave him an avenue to face his own fears about HIV and AIDS, but it allowed him to develop his own way in life.   He came to realize that because of his own experiences that he was able to relate to and comfort children going through the same situation.  As David states, “…I choose, instead of becoming a victim to fear, to take a stance and make a difference in my community.”


Athi grew up in Khayelitsha, one of the largest townships outside of Cape Town, South Africa.  Living in a township with a high crime rate, it was a particularly difficult place to live due to the violence against women and girls.  But as she says in the video, “football gave me hope… And when I’m on the field, I am free.”  Athi is now a coach for Grassroot Soccer, teaching other young girls that they can be healthy and live a healthy life style.  She feels that she and her players support each other both on and off the field.  But it’s her love of football that made the difference in her life. In 2015 her team won the Coca-Cola Cup, a major tournament.  One of my  favorite lines from Athi is, “I can show the world who I really am…All because of this beautiful game.”

These two digital stories provide us with a glimpse into the lives of these two people who didn’t let the difficulties of life stop them from becoming role models for the many people they help.  It is the emotional struggle to overcome life’s hardships that make us intrigued by these digital stories. Something that we should always understand and appreciate as creators of digital stories.

Ohler’s Assessment Traits:

  • Presentation and performance – Both of these stories are presented on the same web site.  David’s story is a nicely crafted web site that leads us slowly through his story by using interesting images and a series of text blurbs.  Athi’s story is done the same way, but it also includes a short video presentation.  The video presentation adds a great deal to the story because we get a much better look and feel for Athi and the place where she lives.
  • Media application – I thought that the web sites were well done because they slowly revealed the story as I scrolled down the site.  And not every text blurb was associated with an image, so it actually gave more emphasis to the text when it was the only part that was visible.  And Athi’s video short was nicely produced with a voice over and accompanying text that made the few things she said seem very important.
  • Flow, organization and pacing – Once again, I thought the pacing was well done because the web sites let the viewer set their own pace.  And I thought the organization was well done because it gave a good introduction, but then emphasized the things that they accomplished, which is really what makes these stories so interesting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s