Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soccer Program Update

We now have four set teams with four different coaches. Each team is composed of about 10-20 boys from throughout Kibera. Although the teams were started by the children of Tunza Children's Center, they have grown to include children from throughout the slum. Now that the Tunza children have moved to Ngong, our Kibera teams are continuing to practice. We are working on a solution to ensure that the kids in Ngong will still be able to play soccer.

Temporarily, the four coaches will be traveling to Ngong every few weeks to visit the kids and play soccer with them. We think that its good for the kids to see familiar faces in their new home so that they understand that they are not being abandoned by the people that care about them and to make the transition easier. (On a related note, the Tunza counselors will also be traveling to Ngong to continue to work with the children).

Last week, we had a meeting with the coaches to discuss what we can do to make our teams in Kibera better. In the past few weeks, we have purchased 70 pairs of shorts for training, first aid kits for each team, a net to carry soccer balls and books for the coaches to take attendance each week. We will also be purchasing shoes and socks for all of the boys in a few weeks.

The coaches came up with two ideas at the meeting to help us ensure that our soccer program offers more to the kids than just the opportunity to play soccer. The coaches, who are all residents Kibera themselves, pointed out that the kids come from challenged and difficult backgrounds so they would like to take a half an hour each practice to sit down with the kids, get to know them, discuss any problems the kids might be having. Then the coaches can offer advice and possibly see how Uweza can help.

The coaches also created a prize-giving program to motivate the kids to do their best. They will be telling the players that at some point each month, one player (e.g. most hard-working, best attendance, best skills) will be getting a prize such as a new pair of socks or shorts. This will teach the kids about the value of hard work and dedication and encourage them to do their best always.

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