The Poloafrica development effort has been in operation since 2005. The Poloafrica Development Trust, a non profit, public benefit organisation, registered as a development trust in the Bloemfontein High Court, was formalised in 2011. There are five Trustees, Catherine Cairns (Founder), Anton Chaka, Zeona Jacobs, Tracey Morgan and Denton Osler. The mission of the Trust is to use the love of ponies, riding and the sport of polo to transform the lives of underprivileged adults and especially children. This goal is the cornerstone of the Trust's endeavours, however the programme has evolved beyond this and in a broader sense is now a powerful force for good in a rural, disadvantaged community.
The goal of the Transformation Charter for South African Sport is to unlock the potential of black youth in this country. The Charter encourages change in sport through broader community involvement and the creation of development programmes at grassroots levels to deliver facilities and infrastructure to previously deprived communities. Poloafrica's strategy delivers against these exact objectives. Poloafrica's development programme, unique in Africa, provides beautiful, first class riding and polo facilities in an under-served area, with extensive community involvement.
Poloafrica gives underprivileged adults the chance to flourish as polo professionals, whether through playing the game, pony care, farrier work, schooling ponies or coaching other players in the sport. Most of these adults have had little education, some having grown up during the apartheid regime and all of them having faced the challenges that still exist in rural education in South Africa today. These adults, with a strong sense of pride, play a key role in bringing on the younger players who participate in the Poloafrica youth development programme. There are over 40 participants in this youth development programme, which is the main focus of the Trust. Click the scholars to read more about it.
The opportunities reach beyond the Poloafrica scholars who directly benefit from the programme. Poloafrica is widely known in the local community, affecting many families, and is seen as an important force for good. A family receiving educational support for one child is better able to help other family members attend school. The labour requirements of the programme are intensive, given that that over 70 ponies are required to make it possible as well as extensive infrastructure. The employment offered by Uitgedacht Farm in conjunction with the Poloafrica Development Trust has a significant economic impact in an area of high unemployment. Click medley to find out more about the Trust's role in the community.
A further objective of the Poloafrica Development Trust is to change both the perception and the reality of the sport in South Africa, in order to allow it to flourish and grow. Polo in this country has not moved with the times as most other sports have. There are hardly any black South African players and none that are able to fund themselves. It is important for South Africans to see black players play the game in order to challenge the perception that the sport is only a white sport. Poloafrica players, both adults and children, are serving as a catalyst for change in the sport in South Africa.