Johannesburg, 24 February 2022 –Volkswagen continues to invest in local youth development as part of their ongoing commitment to ‘Move People Forward’. The Volkswagen Train 4 Life initiative, launched in partnership with the Department of Basic Education, aims to empower young girls by driving the sporting passions and life skills education of over 1 800 young girls from Alexandra, Gauteng.
The programme, which works alongside six Alexandra-based high schools has two core focuses: driving healthy habits and passions through a girls-only soccer league and laying down positive foundations through a life skills education programme.
The Volkswagen Train 4 Life Girls Soccer League aims to provide a safe platform for young soccer players to upskill, develop and showcase their talents, whilst also imparting valuable life lessons.
“At Volkswagen we believe that sport, especially soccer, is more than just a game. Soccer has the potential to play a vital role in youth development, as a tool to help facilitate individual and team growth while building healthy passions and habits. Providing young girls with a safe platform to embrace their soccer talents and the benefits of team, sport is a core purpose of our Volkswagen Train 4 Life initiative,” said Steffen Knapp, Head of the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand.
The inaugural girls’ soccer league kicked off in 2021, with six girls-only teams and this culminated with the finals hosted by Volkswagen on 22 February 2022 at the Three Square Sports Stadium in Alexandra. Kwabhengilanga High School proudly claimed the title of champions of the first Volkswagen Train 4 Life Girls Soccer League and won soccer training kits for their school.
Former Banyana Banyana captain and decorated coach, Simphiwe “Shorty” Dludlu, has partnered with Volkswagen to help train the young girls and inspire their journeys. The Alexandra-born national football star is a powerful mentor for the girls because she is living proof that all dreams are possible.
“My personal goal is to empower young girls through soccer so that we can grow both the sport and the dreams of South Africa’s young girls in a positive environment,” said Dludlu. “The Volkswagen Train 4 Life initiative allows me to follow this ambition with girls from my home community in Alexandra; one of the toughest training grounds in the world.”
Dludlu will be scouting from the current league of girls to form her own team that she will take to the Volkswagen Vaya Cup, the national youth Soccer League for boys and girls which will be held in December 2022.
In April 2022, Volkswagen will also roll out the life skills education portion of the programme for Grade 8 girl learners at the six participating schools. The workshops will impart valuable life skills on topics such as personal hygiene, self-defence and road safety.
“We are proud of the Volkswagen Train 4 Life initiative as we want to empower our communities and we hope the tools the programme provides can inspire and motivate South Africa’s young girls to dream big,” concluded Knapp.