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.
Carolina for Kibera’s jump rope team, the ‘Paka Skippers’, recently gave a dramatic and eye-catching performance at the famous Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi, courtesy of Kiwi Shoe Polish and Resolution Health. The little known sport, jump rope, typically evokes laughter from those who are unfamiliar with it, but after the recent performance of the Paka Skippers, there was no laughter to be heard, the crowd just stared in amazement. Through jump rope, the Paka Skippers’ reputation is growing locally and there is growing interest in having the team perform at functions. All of the skippers are from the Kibera slum and through the support of Carolina for Kibera are able to practice their routines and further develop the sport locally.
Many youth living in pitiable conditions in Kibera slums, and especially girls, never knew they had relegated a talent until they were introduced to Jump Rope. This is a sport many youth cherish in Kibera as it makes them realize the unique talent in them. Through Carolina for Kibera, the jump rope now accommodates both boys and girls, aged 8 to 15 years and through the sport, it has been an open minder of these youth. They now can utilize the opportunity and transform the society they stay in. Christine Ondiek, a 14 year old living in abject poverty notes, “I never knew I was blessed with an awesome talent of skipping this simple string. Whenever I perform publicly, the crowd remains dumbfounded and this makes me feel like a champion. I plan to break the world record in due time”, with a gleam in her eyes, after their usual weekend trainings. The Jump Rope team has managed to win several medals after a competition in the neighboring country, Tanzania and in the coastal province of Kenya. Christine states that jumprope has exposed her and she has learnt new skills that she would love sharing with her equals in the community.
Their three voluntary coaches Amon, Davy and Innocent of the CFK sports program, have helped these youth develop their talents. They realized that most of teens do not know how to tap their talents and now they are out to help them appreciate what they own. The paka skippers now use jump rope to not only develop their talents, but it has deterred them from negative peer pressure, boost their self-esteem, physical fitness and confidence as they interact with many people and this make them have a focused life.
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