Case Study: Refiloe Ntsiki
Refiloe is a 17 year-old boy who has spent the past four years living on the streets of Maseru. He has been attending K4L’s Street League for the past six months and has been receiving mentoring as part of the Care & Support Initiative. This programme has helped reunite him with his grandmother, place him back in school and access vital health services.
As well as an escape from their realities, the Street Youth Initiative links street kids up with crucial support systems. In Refiloe’s case K4L supported him in accessing life-saving treatment from the Baylor Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Football is only the beginning of what sports-based programming is all about. The mentors at Kick4Life were able to take him for testing and discovered he was co-infected with HIV and Tuberculosis. He is now on treatment for both illnesses, which is essential to his survival.
After Refiloe was taken home and tested, his grandmother took the other three children that live with her to be tested at Baylor. They were all HIV negative. Thanks to football and Kick4Life, Refiloe is back in the care of his loving grandmother, on life-saving treatment for HIV and TB, and back in school working towards a better future for him and his family.
The following interview was done with Refiloe and his grandmother at their home:
How did you come to be on the streets and what problems did you face? The only problem was that I was starving and there was no food at home. I left home in 2006. The major problems were smoking, fighting each other and smoking drugs like glue. It was not a good life at all. In the winter there is nothing to wear, no clothes of blankets.
How did you get involved with Kick4Life and how has Kick4Life helped you? I went to the Kick4Life pitch and they had the Street League tournaments. Kick4Life has helped me by taking me back to school and reuniting me with my grandmother.
What are your hopes for the future, and how do you feel to be back in school? I want to get more education so I can become a teacher. My favourite subject at school is Maths. I am very happy to be back at school. I like it very much.
We also had the opportunity to interview Refiloe’s grandmother. How do you feel about having Refiloe back at home? I’m very happy that Refiloe is back home. He is different now than when he was on the streets. He can’t go back there now. I was very sad when he was on the streets. I had not seen him for four years. Every time I tried to see him he would run away. The first time I saw him in four years was when Palesa from Kick4Life brought him home. Everything has been going well since he came home.
Refiloe with his family outside his home in Maseru