David Kapata is a true Grassroot Soccer success story. He came to GRS as a participant and gained insight and understanding around the toll that AIDS had taken on his own family. He then channeled that new knowledge into helping others, becoming a GRS Caring Coach and subsequently a staff member, broadening the reach of our programs.
David is a Senior Programs Coordinator for Grassroot Soccer Zambia, located in Lusaka. He’s currently studying social work and social welfare at the University of Zambia Ridgeway campus. David loves music and dancing, movies, and spending time with his mates.
Some of the challenges that young people in Lusaka face are an HIV prevalence rate of 18.2% and a national youth unemployment rate of 24.6%. David’s work with GRS is aimed at providing young people in his community with tools to overcome these challenges.
My mother died when I was nine years old, and the months leading up to her death took a huge emotional, psychological and financial toll on my family and me. Seven years after my mother's death, my younger sister, who was only seven years old, also died from an AIDS-related illness.
My sister’s untimely death left me with a lot of unresolved questions, which caused me to become very bitter because I couldn’t understand why AIDS would affect someone so young and defenseless.
David first became a part of the GRS family as a program participant at the age of 16. After graduating from the program, he became a volunteer Coach, working his way up in the organization to the staff position he holds today.
I was first introduced to Grassroot Soccer in the year 2005 in my 11th grade of High School. Grassroot Soccer’s unique soccer-themed peer-to-peer HIV prevention and awareness strategies helped me answer the questions I had from the age of 8. I felt GRS created a platform for me to learn more and express myself more about the dangers of HIV.
I was so inspired by the dynamic and energetic coaches, that right then and there I knew I wanted to be just like them. Being a coach was not only a great forum for me to openly face my own fears about HIV and AIDS, but also to develop my personal efficacy.
The biggest turning point for me came when I was invited to facilitate at a retreat for HIV-positive children. Going into the retreat, I was very nervous. Looking at the children reminded me so much of my younger sister.
I have come to realize that the experiences I went through with my sister’s death give me the ability to relate to and comfort children who are going through the same situation. I have come to accept that HIV and AIDS are a part of my everyday life, and therefore I choose, instead of becoming a victim of fear, to take a stance and make a difference in my community.
An outstanding and passionate facilitator and program manager,
David has become a key member of the Grassroot Soccer team, going from a young participant to volunteer coach, assistant monitoring and evaluations coordinator, programs coordinator, to the position he holds today, managing several major program implementations in Zambia.
In 2013 his story was featured in the book Stand Up! 75 Young Activists Who Rock the World and How You Can, Too!. In 2015, he was a featured speaker at the GRS UK Gala, where he realized a dream of meeting David Beckham. He says: “Working for Grassroot Soccer never fails to challenge my skills or test my resolve. It’s where I can lead with confidence and guide with my heart, and it’s a place where I always feel I can make a difference.”
As a result of my experiences with Grassroot Soccer, I have become more focused, determined and dedicated in every aspect of my life. I now hope that my story can
inspire other young people to take up a challenge that they are passionate about, and
make a difference in their own communities.
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