A dear friend was in Sedona, Arizona at the same time as the Sedona international film festival. She told me about a documentary that stood out to her, Alive and Kicking. It was about a group of poverty-stricken South African grandmothers trying desperately to raise their grandchildren orphaned by AIDS. Most have six to fourteen children to take care of, on $85/month.
The founder of Soccer Grannies, Rebecca Ntsanwisi, a social worker, and cancer survivor, recognized her own need to exercise and get healthy. At the same time, she saw that it would have a significantly positive benefit to the grandmothers who were faced with so many challenges in their lives.
This is an emotionally inspirational story. A group of grannies who attend soccer practice twice a week with the help of their coach Jack Abrahams, have learned a new form of therapy. The initial goal of the project was to be active but now they have raised a group out of depression and social isolation and into better physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. What started as one group in 2003 has now grown to over 40 teams across the neighboring countries. That’s 40 groups of woman coming together to share, exercise, and heal.
“If you sit at home, you won’t get stronger. But if you run and if you play soccer you will be alright. You stay fresh and strong.” – Anna ‘Bull’ Vuma, dedicated Soccer Granny
I can’t help but wonder if I could survive the harshness of their reality. But they found a way to unite in joy, tenacity and a strong will to not only survive but to thrive. They created their own community. A community that is growing and healing together.
You can view the trailer at www.soccergrannies.com.