Skillz Holiday program delivers HIV prevention education for employees’ children

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (June 24, 2010) — To keep children of Levi Strauss & Co.’s South African employees engaged and healthy during the extended World Cup school holiday, Grassroot Soccer is promoting HIV/AIDS prevention and outreach through the Skillz Holiday soccer camp.

The program is run by Grassroot Soccer-trained coaches and will conclude with a graduation celebration, including a trip sponsored by Grassroot Soccer and chaperoned by Levi Strauss & Co. employee volunteers, to a Cup match between fourth-ranked Netherlands vs. nineteenth-ranked Cameroon.

The program began June 21st and runs through June 25th at the Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha, South Africa, and hosts 85 boys and girls, between the ages of 10 and 16, to a five-day curriculum of soccer and life skills training with an emphasis on HIV prevention. With an estimated nationwide HIV/AIDS infection rate of almost nine percent among fifteen to twenty-four year olds, there is an urgent need for early HIV education and prevention in South Africa.

Through a series of interactive discussions and activities, Levi Strauss & Co. employees’ children will gain a better understanding of HIV/AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for protecting their health as they enter adulthood. Key topics include learning how to make healthy decisions, avoid risky behavior, build supportive networks, reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS and raise awareness of HIV/AIDS testing and treatment.

“Grassroot Soccer is thrilled to be partnering with LS&Co. to keep the children of LS&Co. employees learning, active and safe during the extended World Cup holiday,” says Bill Miles, Chief Operating Officer at Grassroot Soccer.

The South Africa camp is part of a broader commitment by Levi Strauss & Co. in HIV prevention, treatment and care.  As the first global company to focus on HIV/AIDS in the workplace, Levi Strauss & Co.’s Employee HIV/AIDS program is designed to reach all of the company’s employees and their family members in every country where it operates. “Partnering with Grassroot Soccer in South Africa during the World Cup is an exciting and fun way to invest in our employe es, their families and the future by teaching kids how to stay healthy,” says Paurvi Bhatt, Senior Director, HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care, Levi Strauss & Co., “Reaching out to the next generation is essential to stopping this pandemic.”

Grassroot Soccer (GRS) is a non-profit organization that uses the power of soccer to educate, inspire, and mobilize communities worldwide to stop the spread of HIV. Founded by former professional soccer players in 2002, GRS trains African soccer stars, soccer coaches, teachers, and peer educators in HIV-affected countries to deliver an interactive HIV prevention curriculum to youth. GRS operates flagship sites in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe and as a technical assistance partner has helped design and launch sustainable projects in 19 countries worldwide. As a direct result of these partnerships as well as flagship programs, GRS has provided comprehensive HIV-prevention and life-skills education to more than 300,000 young people.

What started as a grassroots effort by Levi Strauss & Co. employees and executives to better educate their colleagues about HIV/AIDS in 1982 has evolved into a comprehensive corporate response embracing the company’s employees, their families, nonprofit organizations, public policy, its supply chain partners and consumers. The goal of the employee HIV/AIDS program is to ensure that employees have access to HIV/AIDS prevention, education and comprehensive treatment through the establishment of a global system for case management and reimbursement for HIV/AIDS services. Levi Strauss & Co. remains committed to pushing the limits – from expanded coverage for workers to public policy advocacy – to eliminate this health crisis once and for all.

About Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest branded apparel companies and the global leader in jeanswear, marketing its products in more than 110 countries worldwide.  The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers® and Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™ brands.  Levi Strauss & Co. reported fiscal 2009 net revenues of $4.1 billion.  For more information, go to or visit the new company blog, Unzipped, at

Click here to read GRS’s World Cup Blog about the Levi Strauss & Co. Skillz Holiday.