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Children in South Africa can thank the World Cup for a six-week vacation from school. But, that doesn't mean all learning has gone out the window. The development organization Grassroot Soccer is taking advantage of the hoopla surrounding the event as a teachable moment, showing kids how to prevent the acquisition of HIV/AIDS through the so-called "beautiful game."

Combining the efforts of current and former soccer players and coaches with those of public health workers—as well as former Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn—Grassroot Soccer creates soccer-related games and drills that teach children about the dangers of engaging in unsafe sexual practices. (South Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, with 5.7 million of its 49 million citizens infected.)


Zohn told USA Today:

Our goal is to educate as many kids as possible and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in South Africa using soccer as the entry point. ... It's still a little bit taboo in South Africa, a little stigmatized. By combining something really cool, like soccer and the World Cup, with HIV/AIDS, we're able to break down those barriers.

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Here's a video that explains more about Grassroot Soccer's work:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKynD3dzccU

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