The 2015 Laureus Youth Empowerment Through Sport (YES) programme concluded with a special graduation event at the Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) Head Office in Pretoria.
Laureus Ambassadors Quinton Fortune and Grant Lottering, as well as Laureus South Africa Chairman Morné du Plessis and world-famous mountaineer and MC at the event, Deshun Deysel, got together to congratulate the 49 graduates who have successfully completed the year’s programme. The Laureus YES programme is aimed at developing youth leaders from a range of sport for social change organisations across South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius, Kenya and Uganda.
The YES programme is one of the exciting ways that the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is empowering and inspiring youth leaders in Africa to use sport for the good of their communities. Launched in 2012, the programme focuses on equipping youth with the technical, vocational, entrepreneurship and life skills needed to develop sustainable livelihoods. The programme targets school leavers, ages 18 to 25, with particular attention given to young people who are passionate about sport and the upliftment of local communities.
“We are extremely proud of this group of young leaders. Through the 2015 YES programme they have reached over 2,500 kids using coaching and various life skills to spread the actions of social change through sport. They possess the kind of leadership qualities that we encourage the youth to aspire to and we hope that they will continue to elevate communities across Africa” explains Laureus SA Chairman, Morné du Plessis.
Laureus Ambassador and former Bafana Bafana and Manchester United footballer, Quinton Fortune, reached out to the young graduates commenting, “I’ve been inspired meeting these young leaders and hearing how the YES programme has given them the tools to take back to their communities to spread the Sport for Good message. This is a big moment for the YES graduates and it’s great to be here to celebrate with them.”
Earlier this year, MBSA and Laureus SA announced its official partnership where the global brand invested R3 million for 2015 into the work of the Foundation. Mercedes-Benz has actively supported professional and amateur sport on a global scale for decades and has become established as a leading partner in the fields of motor sport, football, golf, horse riding and tennis.
“We are proud to support the work of Laureus SA as country patron. The work the foundation does through sport, to motivate and empower youth, specifically through the YES programme, is something that Mercedes-Benz South Africa is very passionate about. Youth development is one of the main pillars of our Corporate Social Responsibility focus in the country. Sport has the power to unite and inspire and as a proud and committed South African corporate citizen we actively support initiatives that ensure a bright future for all,” says Florian Seidler, Co-CEO and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars, MBSA.
The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa currently supports 15 sports-based community initiatives nationwide and since its inception it has raised over R80 million for projects and programmes which have improved the lives of more than 80,000 young people.