Jul 15, 2019

Ten Years and Now the Champions!

Manyatta United are the Chapa Dimba Champions!
Manyatta United are the Chapa Dimba Champions!

July 2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of the Manyatta Youth Resource Center in Kisumu, Kenya, primarily funded by Equip Manyatta. Ten years ago a group of community members from Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, and two interns from universities in the Western US sat down to create an organization dedicated to serving the under-privileged youth in the slums of Kisumu. Over the years, the MYRC has moved from its base in a corrugated metal shed, to hosting community events, classes, meetings, and art shows at its compound. Its sports program, which started as a single Under-14 team, has been built into an academy for both boys and girls ranging in age from youth into young adulthood. We have developed players from that original Under-14 team, and today many of them have professional soccer careers. Many have traveled within Africa and Europe pursuing their dreams of playing professional soccer thanks to opportunities created by the MYRC. Our dance teams and drama teams have all been recognized for their creative energy and originality. Our recording studio has helped produce and sponsor some of Kisumu’s most well-known musicians.

Through all of these successes there have also been major challenges. As our organization grew, the finances necessary to keep our programs running also surged. We needed to help support the adults in Kenya who were keeping our programs active. We needed to help keep our youth in school by supporting them with school fees. As the level of competition grew for our soccer club, the costs and travel associated with that level of play increased. As artists worked to become better recognized, they needed sponsorships to travel to interviews and produce music videos. Thanks to the support from donors on Global Giving we have been able to keep our dreams alive, but it has not been easy. Please continue to support us with your donations, but also by spreading the word about our organization. We are urgently seeking individual and organizational donors who can help us with a single or repeating grant that will help guarantee our sustainability and stability.

 A testament to the hard work of our players and coaches through the years is our recent performance in the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom tournament. After a series of local and regional tournaments our men’s Senior team, Manyatta United, reached the Final stage at Kinoru Stadium in Meru on June 8th and 9th. As part of the process leading up to the Finals, two of our male players and one of our women got the chances of a lifetime through their performance at the Nyanza Regional Finals. In these semi-finals, Manyatta Ladies forward, Cynthia, aged 20, scored a hat-trick (three goals) and was named Player of the Match. Although the Ladies Team came in Runner-up in the Regionals, Cynthia was included on the Chapa Dimba All Stars. On the men’s side, Ibrahim, aged 20, was awarded the Most Valuable Player in the Regional finals and Benson, aged 17, was given the title Top Scorer of the Regional tournament securing their places on the All Stars. These All Stars, the top performers in the various regional matches, were taken to a training course in Spain as a result of their performances. They trained at Complex Esportiu Futbol in Salou, Spain where they were trained by La Liga coaches on world class playing fields. They came back in high spirits and ready to help propel their team to victory in the Finals.

And We Won the Chapa Dimba na Safaricom! Benson scored again during the Final match and Manyatta United became the National Champions after beating Rift Valley’s Al-Ahly FC 2-1 on June 9th. In front of thousands of onlookers, our players were proud to see that fans of Manyatta United had made the long journey across Kenya from Kisumu to Meru to support their team. This tournament has helped Manyatta United get national recognition. Through their participation with the MYRC, our players on Manyatta United will be given new opportunities to travel and compete at high levels. You can read about Manyatta United’s victory at: https://chapadimba.safaricom.co.ke/news/manyatta-united-kitale-queens-win-chapa-dimba-na-safaricom-national-finals/ and you can watch the full final match by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is2qOhJA8As&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2XxlCR7mjSYdM1-cVPh9G-IG8-VoiwmUTuejm-VONTix7iNszPvLKdhgI. Our match starts at the 2 hours and 18 minutes. You can watch our semi-final victory here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmXeudm2GEU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR2K04hcEVlkghFPuYbr3Fp1nPPgPsQohO_9y2F4f2j8sOf-DA0uZniQzHU.

Through these successes, we also have to be diligent in raising funds to support our education program. The MYRC serves close to 200 youth at a time and most of those youth are in difficult and vulnerable positions. The support that the MYRC provides for education can be a small amount to help a student get school materials like books and shoes up to full tuition scholarships. We believe that a good education should come first so that our youth are equipped with a variety of skills to meet life’s challenges.

We need your support to help keep our students in school. Joseph was a former student who was sponsored by the MYRC. While with the MYRC Joseph helped found the MYRC drama team and also played as goalkeeper for Manyatta United. After finishing school Joseph went to work at two different elementary schools, eventually started his own business selling cutlery and other kitchen items, and is currently a DJ at a local radio station in Kisumu. The MYRC doesn’t want a lack of funding to be the reason a youth like Joseph misses out on a series of opportunities. Please help us keep our students in school by donating today or contacting us to arrange an individual sponsorship program.

We know that the MYRC has the potential to continue to grow and evolve over the next ten years. The successes we have seen this past decade thanks to your contributions confirm to us that our mission is valid and that our programs are important. We wish for our programs to continue to grow and our success stories to keep coming. We can’t do it without your help! Thank you again for your support, which has been so crucial to the MYRC’s success over these first ten years!

Austin - Then and Now
Austin - Then and Now
Champions celebrating with our youth on the way up
Champions celebrating with our youth on the way up
Manyatta United Fans in Meru
Manyatta United Fans in Meru
News of Nyanza Regional Win
News of Nyanza Regional Win
Chapa Dimba All Stars in Spain
Chapa Dimba All Stars in Spain
Apr 15, 2019

Our Programs Create Success for So Many

Our Chapa Dimba Tourney Champions in the News
Our Chapa Dimba Tourney Champions in the News

As the year presses forward, so do the youth and adult leaders at the Manyatta Youth Resource Center in Kisumu, Kenya. The MYRC is not a seasonal program-- its activities run year round. Since our founding it has been our goal to keep youth active in a safe and nurturing environment. The slums of Manyatta are a difficult place to grow up and youth need positive outlets and opportunities to build on their talents.

The MYRC gives youth a place to gain exposure to new ideas and new methods for approaching their challenges. We continue to host international interns and guests, and most recently ten people visited from Iceland while working on a documentary. Our general manager, Oballah, hosted them during their tour and also accompanied them to the town of Butere to assist them in their mission. While in Kisumu, they offered advice to our Performing Arts Group about film production and provided business ideas that might help boost our ability to fund projects and become more self-reliant.

The Performing Arts Group also recently had the opportunity to meet with the Kenya Film Classification Board Regional Manager at our resource center to discuss projects and explore new opportunities. The Regional Manager wants to work in partnership with the group to help make projects that promote Kenya and emphasize the positives that exist.

The Performing Arts Group continues to make new episodes of their miniseries, “Anita,” and is currently working on the tenth episode. Though the topics of this miniseries are often not cheerful, the group hopes to show some of the difficult realities many of them face everyday. They did take the Regional Manager’s advice though, and have started a project called UWEZO, which will be an informative and educational film that highlights talent in the Manyatta slum and how the community can embrace and support that talent’s growth.

Our young soccer players were excited by the recent visit of Patrick O, a former Manyatta United player, currently playing for Kenyan Premier League side Sony Sugar FC. Our former players always stop by the training ground to motivate our young players and they often suit up and practice with their former team. Patrick brought a new pair of boots with him and donated them to the captain of our junior team. As our younger teams prepare to start their season in the Kisumu Youth Football League, they were inspired to train their hardest for Patrick and show off their skills. It is motivating for our youth to see success stories and Patrick feels great to be able to give back to his community.

Our Senior Team continues to demonstrate that the Manyatta United training system helps develop strong soccer players who can compete at high levels of competition. The ManU Senior Team recently won top position in their semi-professional league. Now, this team has won first place at the Safaricom Chapa Dimba tournament and our Senior Ladies team won runner-up in their competitions. This was the largest competition either team had played and well over 1,000 people attended most matches at the Moi Stadium throughout the tournament!

Our players were also recognized for their skills and feats on the playing field. In the semi-finals, Manyatta Ladies forward, Cynthia, scored a hat-trick (three goals) and was named Player of the Match. Manyatta Ladies cruised to the finals after winning their semi-finals 6-0, but were defeated by a strong side there, taking home the second place title. After the tournament’s final, in which Manyatta United Men beat Nyamira Springs FC by 5-0, our striker Benson won the Golden Boot, an award for the top overall scorer of the tournament. Benchidi was given the award for Most Valuable Player, and Ibrahim O won the award for Best Goalkeeper of the tournament. Each player was given a trophy and a check for KSH 30,000. This was not only a huge motivating moment for our players, but it will also have a huge impact on their ability to support themselves and their families.

Chapa Dimba is a series of tournaments in which the top teams win a trip to Spain to play there. Having taken the Nyanza region championship, our Senior Team has the opportunity to participate in the next level of the tournament in Nairobi. This is a major challenge for our group. Even though we are highly successful on the pitch, funding transportation to Nairobi and costs, including meals and accommodation, is extremely difficult. We need your support to help take our teams to the next level!

When our youth are given the opportunity to show off their skills they are highly successful and favorably recognized. It is only the financial restrictions that hold back our achievements. You can be the person to help ensure that our Youth Teams finish their seasons this year without any hold-ups. You can be the reason our Senior Team gets to travel to the next level of the Chapa Dimba tournament and eventually win a trip to Spain. Your support can mean so much to our youth and their futures. We thank you now for the support you have given and ask that you continue to give so that our programs will continue to thrive.

Visiting Icelandic Video Team Met Our Coach Vicky
Visiting Icelandic Video Team Met Our Coach Vicky
Cynthia named Player of the Match after Hat Trick
Cynthia named Player of the Match after Hat Trick
Our Ladies Take Runner-Up in Chapa Dimba Tourney
Our Ladies Take Runner-Up in Chapa Dimba Tourney
This Junior Team Can Grow Up to be Champions too
This Junior Team Can Grow Up to be Champions too
Our Ladies Warm Up for Unforgettable Chapa Dimba
Our Ladies Warm Up for Unforgettable Chapa Dimba
Jan 24, 2019

Learning to be Champions

Our U-20 Champions
Our U-20 Champions

The new year brings us into Year Ten for Equip Manyatta and the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre (MYRC). The programs and activities of the MYRC and its commitment to their community has made a huge difference in the lives of many of Kisumu’s youth, who have learned to work hard, have fun, and reach for their goals.

Players brought up through MYRC’s Manyatta United teams are now playing in advanced leagues and even abroad. Six former ManU players are now playing with National Super League teams. An additional five players are with Kenyan Premier League teams, including Tusker and Sony Sugar. Another young man is playing in Dubai and a second is with Seville, on loan to Malaysia. We have also been honored to have Grace, a player with Bordeaux Ladies in France, join our ladies team for an extended period of time. Grace had seen our program and our ladies playing and she wanted to get involved. Her participation gave our girls experience and motivation. None of these outstanding young people would have had these opportunities without their training on the MYRC teams. Sports Department head Simon, Coach Carina, Coach Opiyo, and General Manager Oballah have been key leaders to these success stories.

And here is how it is done: Manyatta United acts as a soccer academy, by staying with the same players and teams year after year. As our players age out of one youth team, there is already a place for them in our next age group. This continues all the way to our adult aged team, which is playing semi-professional soccer. For example, the same team that won the Kisumu Youth Football Association (KYFA) U-12 championship three years ago has now gone on to win the U-16 championship. When these players get old enough they will then join our senior team.

Our senior team is the result of years of nurturing and building the skills of our players. Coached by Opiyo, the team members have trained hard and honed their personal and team skills. This is the reason they were recently declared champions of the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Division 1. This means they earned the right to play in FKF Division 2. Our team has finished in the top three of Division 1 for the past 3 years and now we have finally been crowned champions. Captain Ochieng has been with the team since before it registered with the county league. Manyatta United’s senior team has been playing home matches at Shauri Moyo Primary since the beginning but will now be able to move to Moi Stadium as regulations get more rigorous as they progress.

Costs are going to be the main obstacle in playing in the more advanced league, and have prevented us from advancing into higher leagues in the past. The team is planning a harambee, which is a Kenyan tradition of community self-help events, e.g. a fundraiser. Harambee literally means "all pull together" in Swahili, and is also the official motto of Kenya and appears on its coat of arms. The team presented their trophy to their parents to thank them for their support over the years. Their coaches and leaders were also honored. Though we are optimistic that we will gain some funds from this harambee, we know that we will also need additional sources of money. This is one reason that your donations are so important. Your support could ensure that our senior players continue to advance into more challenging levels of play and find more opportunities to play internationally.

Both our U-20 boys and girls have qualified for the regional level of the chapa dimba Nyanza Safaricom tournament. The girls will continue to play friendly matches as they prepare to represent Kisumu County at the regional finals in February. The MYRC fielded among the first girls teams in Kisumu, giving girls the opportunity to build skills, play hard, and gain self confidence.

Across the world, Equip Manyatta held another successful arts and crafts show fundraiser thanks to Lauren and Natalie at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. Paintings by artists Nikomambo, Coster, and Vavik were displayed, and crafts such as jewelry and cards from Heshima Crafts and fabric goods from Rosemary’s Garden of Hope brought a taste of Kisumu to Mendocino County in Northern California. Photo posters showing the activities, projects, and people of the MYRC highlighted why we continue our commitment.

Your support through the years has been very appreciated and has brought a better future for so many young people in Kisumu. Please help us start off the new year on solid financial ground! Thanks!

Our new U-16 Champs
Our new U-16 Champs
Our U-16s when they were the U-12 champs
Our U-16s when they were the U-12 champs
These boys are learning to be tomorrow's champs
These boys are learning to be tomorrow's champs
Kisumu arts and crafts in Boonville
Kisumu arts and crafts in Boonville
Nikomambo's art keeps evolving
Nikomambo's art keeps evolving
 
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