The ASSIST, or the African Sports & Scholastic Initiative for Students in Townships, grew out of the goals of three Harvard seniors to use their passions for athletics and serving others to make a lasting contribution to a community in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The township of Alexandra is one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of South Africa's economic hub. Unemployment sits around 60 percent, and the majority of its residents live in overcrowded informal settlements or shacks.
Our work with the children of Alexandra made clear to us the problem facing those who grow up there: unstable living environments coupled with the high costs of a continued education often lead towards a life of crime or sloth.
The ASSIST was founded to address the complex needs of the children of the township. By emphasizing the value of education combined with enrichment activities such as basketball, the ASSIST hopes to foster a positive environment for Alexandra youth in order to better prepare them for a chance at matriculation, tertiary education, and a brighter future.