So much is happening with the jump rope program at Carolina for Kibera (CFK)!
To begin with, the number of performances they give has increased from twice a week to four times a week. Participants in the jump rope program get to show their talents as they perform during community outreach events for other CFK programs (sports, girls’ empowerment, health, education, etc), including at a World Peace Day event.
Secondly, the team has been getting more attention outside the community as well as they have been invited to perform at the Nairobi City Stadium by the Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA) and Coca-Cola.
Also, Innocent Nyangori, one of the jump rope team’s coaches, was invited to attend a meeting called by the South Africa Gymnastic Federation (SAGF) where many African countries were represented. “The meeting was to forge the way for jump rope in Africa,” shared Innocent. And, in line with that mission, in December, CFK will be co-hosting a five-day East Africa Jump Rope Junior Championship.
All of these opportunities demonstrate the power of peace, and how sports can help improve understanding of each other and our differences.
I have to admit that I had my doubts that they'd be able to pull it off, but when I got the text late on Monday that CFK’s jump rope team, the CFK Sprinters, had been approved for visas and would be heading to the U.S., I was amazed and excited. Even though this trip was, in fact, a year in the making, it all ended up coming together in a span of 48 hours. Before we get into that, though, let's back up a bit.
Every year, the World Jump Rope Championship & Camp is held. This year, the competition was hosted at the University of Central Florida in Orlando where jumpers from all over the world competed in individual and team competitions. This year, participating countries included France, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, and the U.K. In 2012, several CFK participants in the jump rope program were organizing to go to compete in this event (a trip supported by CFK partner One World One Rope); however, complications arose with paper work, visas, working with two governments with different requirements, traveling with minors—all legitimate issues that required sorting out. Due to all the difficulties, the team wasn't able to make it. This year the team started earlier, in March, to get the necessary paperwork, Kenyan government approvals, and of course visas to travel to the U.S. Though it was hectic, the team got all the necessary documentation and left for the U.S. on July 2.
At the airport, we took pictures and shared high-fives, laughs, tears, and hugs as jumpers Ida, Cathrine Agnes, Diana, and Jackline began their journey to the World Championship Tournament. They were joined by David, their coach, and Margaret, the Deputy Head Mistress of the Old Kibera Primary School.
For more information and to see the results of the competition, check out worldjumprope.org!
Carolina for Kibera’s jump rope team has in the past 2 years brought a new sport to the Kibera slums of Nairobi. The team organized an in-house competition, the purpose of which was to create a competition atmosphere among the jumpers who compete among themselves in different categories. They organize their own judges and the best individuals were awarded with school supplies to boost their studies.
During our recent event, we had Sophia Opiyo, who joined jump rope 4 weeks ago, who was able to participate in the first ever jump rope in-house competition. In the single-rope speed of 30 seconds and double-under, she recorded the highest speed of 67 in single-rope and 66 in double-under, respectively.
It is worth noting that the international record is 100 for the boys and 102 for the girls while East African record is 80, which currently is being held by one of our CFK jumpers by the name of Christine Juma.
Sophia Opiyo also participated in the 3 minutes single-rope and recorded a speed of 305. Through Coach Innocent, the girl is very fast and will surprise many in future competitions as she has barely trained for only four weeks and looked very impressive in the competition.
The jump rope team is comprised of young boys and girls, ages 10-15 years. The members are both Kiberan residents as well as youth coming from various villages and primary schools in the area. The team trains on a weekly basis after school hours from 4pm to 6pm at the Kibera Primary School as well as on weekends. There are a total of 80 members who are in jump rope training sessions and they are accompanied by five active trainers.
The jump rope team is very busy, with activities ranging from weekly trainings, to outreaches, performances at weddings, birthdays, graduations, and launches at cooperates and company invites.
One of the main events that the jump rope team encountered recently was performances at informal primary schools. These performances were put on during the graduation season to entertain the children. In addition, the performances have proved a great way to advertise the program and recruit potential members from various villages and schools.
The other area which jump rope is attempting to focus more on is on how the sports program can sustain itself to fulfill its basics needs. We are trying to tailor our typical, routine activities to attract larger and more diverse audiences, as well as promoting ourselves to get booked at more events. The goal is to be able to sustain the costs of scholarships for the youth participants, jump rope gear and materials, and transportation to and from performances.
The school holidays are characterized with a bustle of activity and this one was no different. The children played carelessly and ran about chasing each other like the wind, portraying a sense of idleness.
Unknown unto the public, the ‘Paka Skippers’, the CFK jump rope team, arrived at the open-air bus stage and staged a stunning performance. The event captured the interest of the children and youth, who gazed in total amazement.
The jump rope skippers have continued to use the sport as a tool for behavior change and talent nurturing and following their performance, numerous other youth sought to join the team. Your kind support has so far assisted the Paka Skippers procure uniform and shoes and we seek further support in growing the number of skippers.
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