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November 09, 2009

Dream partnership launches first Central City Dream Event

Andrew Boraine, Chief Executive of the Cape Town Partnership (back, middle) shows his support for the Partnership’s Dreamfields Team. Photo by Anita van Zyl

Following a typical Cape Town week of four seasons in five days, the organisers of the inaugural DreamEvent in Cape Town woke up with some trepidation to discover a sunny spring morning on 10 October – the perfect background against which to celebrate a day of soccer with The Dreamfields Project and its sponsors.

The first of what is hoped will be a number of exciting soccer events in Cape Town Central City for previously disadvantaged children from around the Peninsula, Cape Town Partnership and the Central City Improvement District (CCID) joined The Dreamfields Projects for the first Central City DreamEvent, held at Cape Town High School. The event saw more than 150 primary school children from 10 primary schools (six girls’ and four boys’ schools), each sponsored either a Central City stakeholder or one of the Central City’s many supportive ‘neighbours’. Teams received full soccer kit from soccer balls to boots and team clothing for each team member.

A section 21 company founded by broadcast personality and well-respected journalist, John Perlman. The Dreamfields Project was launched in 2007 with start-up funding from BHP Billiton and Old Mutual. Its dream, in partnership with the Department of Education, is to put resources for playing soccer into township and rural schools throughout South Africa – as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Believing that soccer is a team game (and teams build better schools), the project provides DreamBags – full sets of kits – to schools across the country. It also stages DreamEvents – such as the one held at Cape Town High School – to celebrate the spirit of soccer.

To date, 720 teams across the country have benefited from DreamBags – among the most recent those that attended the firs Central city event. With the 10 schools playing against each other to determine the ultimate girls’ and boys’ championship teams of the day (won by Nobantu Girls sponsored by The Laser Group and Marconi Beam Boys sponsored Crystal Towers respectively), each match was enthusiastically cheered on by representatives from the sponsors. For many of the sponsors this was a ‘first-time’ experience to witness the joy that support of this nature could bring to the lives of young soccer fans – particularly those from disadvantaged communities.

Along with Cape Town Tourism who provided a duo of Diski dancers and a sound system for the day, team sponsors (and their schools) included the Cape Town International Convention Centre (Kenmere Girls), Cape Town Partnership and CCID (Zeekoevlei Boys and Lotus River boys), Century City and Crystal Towers (Marconi Beam Boys and Girls), Claremont Improvement District Company (Red River Boys), Growthpoint Properties (Mvula girls), Old Mutual (Factreton Girls), the Laser Group (Nobantu girls), and Webber Wentzel Attorneys (Wingfield Girls).

The Dream Team

The brainchild behind The Dreamfields Project is John Perlman. Known best for his cutting wit and considered opinion as a radio personality and journalism he says his earliest dreams growing up were sparked by soccer. “After a career in journalism, it’s good to be back at the earliest source of my own ambitions! What I love most about Dreamfields is the way the opening of DreamBags seems t change the mood of the children. They arrive at the DreamEvent looking tentative and quite shy – and then somehow, as each of them gets kitted up, the growing sense of themselves as a team takes hold and confidence begins to flow.”

Perlman himself was once one-half of a well-respected soccer commentary team with Mark Gleeson, covering the game on TV for the SABC, with matches ranging from the African Nations Cup to the European Championships and the World Cup.

Perlman is in good company in The Dreamfields Project: another member of the team who was present on the day is businessman Graham Bath who, along with starting seven companies (five or which have listed on the JSE) is the behind the MySchool community support campaign, which – through its innovative MySchool card – has raised millions of rands for schools and charities.

The Cape Town event also saw the participation of well-known soccer star Jeremy Wyngard, (formerly of Santos and Hellenic FCS) and today one of The Dreamfields Project’s event co-ordinators. He is himself a director of Cape Town’s Life Zones Schools project, which aims to build a ‘Dream Centre’ for the Factreton community comprising at least one full-sixe artificial soccer field and a fully-equipped 200m athletics track.

For more information on the Dreamfields Project, visit www.dreamfieldsproject.org

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