It's taken me over a month to finally put down some words about my visit to TYSA. Gichuki does a lot for the community at large. His field and community center is a presence in a small town in rural Kenya (near Kitale). I had no doubts about the organization. It wasn't just serving the community, it was the community. People came by to use the fields at will, but TYSA requires these youths to stay in school in order to use the fields. Guchuki has held public events every month since I've visited in April. One was an annual Baraza, a meeting to share news and give thanks for the past year's good fortune. They also collected hundreds of stories from the local people as part of this event, that will soon appear online as part of the storytelling project.
Last week they held an event for Day of the African Child (June 16th). I wasn't there, but I can imagine the inspirational speeches were not unlike the ones I heard during my visit, paraphrased below (because my memory is poor).
It was the day before the girls' team was to travel to Nairobi to a soccer tournament.
"We do not just kick this ball around," Gichuki said. "We are TYSA. And we believe that kicking this thing has meaning. It it through sports that we learn discipline, and through friendly competition that we learn how to settle disputes peacefully. You have all lived through the post election violence, and you know that to be Kenyan we must all build peace together. Fair play and personal excellence is what we learn at the end of the day.
This is not a mere sport. Belonging to this team is about developing character and building your future. We discipline the body so that we can discipline the mind, through school. And education gives you opportunities, a future."
Mama Zipporah took over at this point. "Hello Girls!" she shouted. The girls responded softly. Unsatisfied, Zip again repeats her greeting until the team is fully shouting back.
"Girls! I am speaking directly to you. You have heard the saying, 'yes we can!' but now we must make it our own. Wasichana Tunaweza! Girls we can! Say it with me."
They smile and chant the slogan. Girls we Can. Wasichana Tunaweza.
Zip points to her shirt, emblazoned with the slogan.
"Always remember that. When you go to Nairobi, there will be some older boys. You must ignore them. They are not going to help you in your future. You don't need a boyfriend. If they speak to you, smile and walk away. I do not want to be hearing about any one of you coming back with family issues after this tournament. Your future is your own! We must stick together!"
It struck me that this is about much more than soccer, or sports. This is about building up strong willed women who can lead the nation. It's about reaching for that future together, as a team. It's kind of hard for me to explain what I am seeing, because there isn't anything like it in the USA that is similar. At least not so explicitly.
Yes, of course I love and endorse TYSA. I often find myself wishing I could do more to help them. The description of what they do sounds like so many other organizations, but the results seem to be extraordinary. I'll do my part to publicize their efforts. Maybe I could even get some of my friends who are school teachers to link their girls up with these girls, to be pen pals or text-message buddies. Imagine the possibility of having a larger team of girls determined to write their own future, together.
Oh, and by the way, the TYSA girls' team took 2nd or 3rd place in that tournament, beating Carolina for Kibera's team in the quarter finals.
I spent an amazing day today with Francis Gichuki and his team. They were having a "baraza" (community meeting) complete with village elders, 200+ school kids, many volunteers, and other folks. There was a soccer tournament, volleyball, basketball, and plenty of music. TYSA also gave all attendees the opportunity to tell a story for GlobalGiving's storytelling project, and we left with over 500 stories from community members. These stories sometimes featured the work that TYSA does, sometimes they just featured something that happened in a community. I'm very excited to take this true beneficiary feedback and add it to the growing number of stories we've received from people all over Kenya. Many thanks to Francis and the TYSA team for a great day.
Over 25 students re-opened for their second term yesterday.During the briefing meeting held at the TYSA field, the students were encouraged to take their studies seriously. ' Remember there people out there who are sacrificing themselves so that you can access school' Lameck Nyandega. TYSA Education Coordinator.
Second term in secondary school is usually a ball games season. Mr Francis Ojillo, Football Coordinatir encouraged the players to take this opportunity to excell in sports.
We are grateful to your continued support which offers these students both sporting and educational opportunity. Donate that One dollar today
With Warmest Regards
Extra study session Improving Academic Performance
Providing extra study sessions for students from poor families is proving successful.
Collins is a form one student at Bwake secondary school. As an orphan, Collins has limited access to the only one lantern lamp. Once they have eaten food at 6.30PM, the little kerosene lamp is then blown off to save kerosene for tomorrow.
TYSA started a Holiday study session at its Girls resource centre in April this year. For the last two weeks, 41 students have been attending this study session. They are enjoying unique facilities at the centre including electricity, two meals a day and spacious room for studying. Volunteer teachers have been teaching and coaching the students.
‘Iam very excited to be here at the study session. I have learnt a lot. I now know how to organize my study. At least here, Iam also able to have two meals unlike if I was home’ Faith
By providing US$ 2 per day for per student, then you will have made it possible for the student to enjoy two meals per day and concentrate in study session whole day. Donate now !
With warm Regards
Copa Cola is one of the football tournaments held annually in kenya for children under the age 17 to promote talents.
Master Eric is one of the Education and Football Academy beneficiariesi in Kimilili Secondary School. Duirng this year preliminary tournaments, Eruc was selected to join other players form his district.
We do hope that Eric will go far in his football world. ' Hi sis a talented defender and has very intelligent in play' Mr. Waswa, Coach Teacher.
It is through your donations that Eric has come all this far. We look foward to your continued support to enable Eric realize his dream of one day playing for Big clubs in the world and later come back home to support his poor family
With Warm Regards
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Trans nzoia County,