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
Oct 29, 2018

Our Youth Are Excelling in So Many Ways

End of a Friendly Ladies' Game
End of a Friendly Ladies' Game

As the year starts to wind down, activities at the Manyatta Youth Resource Center (MYRC) continue across all departments. Welcoming guests, participating in tournaments, making films, hosting classes, making new music, and sponsoring teams in both the Kisumu County and the Kisumu Youth Football Association leagues-- our members and leaders have plenty to do and plenty to be proud of.

Our Manyatta United Senior Team made an impressive start to the 2018 Kisumu County League playing 18 straight matches without being beaten. Unfortunately, that streak came to an end on October 14 against the Ahero Rangers from Nyando sub-county. Though Manyatta United scored first, they were exposed in the back and the Rangers capitalized three times. Despite this loss, Manyatta United’s impressive start to their campaign this season still leaves them at the top of the league standings.

Our Senior Ladies’ Team and Senior Men’s Team both participated in the Oyugis Sep Tournament, both heading to the elimination rounds, but failing to move on. Still, Rodgers from the Senior Team was awarded the golden boot for the tournament after scoring six times and Sophy, our Ladies’ goalkeeper, was named the best goal keeper of the tournament. Despite not taking home the trophy, our players gained valuable experience on the field as well as recognition for their hard work.

We were honored to host players and coaches from the Kenyan premier league team, Gor Mahia, at a practice at our home field at Shaurimoyo Primary School. Gor Mahia are the favored team in the Kisumu area and have been Kenyan premier league champions a record 16 times. It was inspiring for our young players to hear from their soccer pitch heroes and get valuable advice from professionals. Participating in MYRC activities continually gives youth living in the slums of Kisumu opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get. Youth are not expected to pay anything for the support they get at the center. We only expect their focus, commitment and hard work.

Some of the gateways that the MYRC can open for our youth are demonstrated by our senior member Nyabogo. Nyabogo has been involved in MYRC soccer teams since age 12, playing on all our different age level teams. Nyabogo is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Kibaba University. He is inspired to work with and engage his fellow peers as he sees connections between living in the slums and getting caught up in delinquent activities. When Nyabogo returns to Kisumu, he always visits the Resource Centre to update everybody on how he is doing and to offer advice. He still plays and practices with our senior team when he is back in Kisumu. Many of the players on the senior team have been teammates and friends with Nyabogo for 9 years. Men like Nyabogo, are examples of what can happen when youth are given opportunities to follow their dreams and are given safe places to grow and learn. Nyabogo learned a lot from the MYRC and gained many opportunities through his participation. Now with his continued dedication and hard work, he is setting himself up on a path to continue to bring change to his hometown.

In the Performing Arts Department, we are excited to announce the completion of the first season of the mini-series Anita. All of the episodes are posted on YouTube, but the show’s creators were excited to print DVD copies for sale as well. Young men and women worked together to write, film, edit and release this series. (Here’s a link to Episode 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjgtYIvw1Xo) While producing the different episodes they gained priceless experience they will be able to take forward with them on their next project. They gained hands-on skills that will help them move towards their dreams of being part of the film industry. From start to finish, Anita was created and achieved by our youth’s vision and determination.  

The MYRC is doing all of this and more. Our recording studio continues to make music, our artists continue to take pictures and paint, and our leaders continue to search for more avenues of support. The work that the MYRC is doing does not happen without financial support. The support we get from our donors ensures that our activities continue to operate. Our array of programs is always in jeopardy of ending when we can’t find enough funding. Please help ensure that the youth at the MYRC, funded primarily by donations to Equip Manyatta, are able to continue exploring the things they love and continue having opportunities that have the potential to shape their lives in years to come.

Sophy awarded best goal keeper at Oygis tourny
Sophy awarded best goal keeper at Oygis tourny
Gor Mahia stars inspire MYRC players
Gor Mahia stars inspire MYRC players
Nyabogo, a MYRC youth for 9 years, now goes to Uni
Nyabogo, a MYRC youth for 9 years, now goes to Uni
MYRC leader Malique & Anita creator Ramsey w/DVD
MYRC leader Malique & Anita creator Ramsey w/DVD
Filming mini-series Anita engages lots of talent
Filming mini-series Anita engages lots of talent
Jul 30, 2018

As We Enter Our Tenth Year

One of our first players trains in Seville
One of our first players trains in Seville

The Manyatta Youth Resource Center celebrated its ninth year as a community-based organization in Kisumu, Kenya this July! As the MYRC enters its tenth year, it is safe to say that we continue the commitment to our mission and have significantly surpassed our original program goals and expectations. Starting with a small group of u-14 soccer players and a few musicians, the MYRC, with principal funding from Equip Manyatta, today supports over 150 youth soccer players as well as actors, musicians, visual artists, activists, students, and young entrepreneurs.

 Our youth participation continues to grow and recognition from the community is also increasing. We have parent and school involvement with our programs. Our performing artists are being recognized as rising stars. Our sports teams are producing many players who are now playing at professional levels. Government entities are scheduling visits when they are in the area. We host guests from around the world who come to play soccer, make music, art and theater with us. Unfortunately, our ultimate goal of being financially self-sustaining has not yet been realized and our goal of taking our own team to a professional level has been delayed by a lack of funds as well. A lot has changed over these last nine years, but our commitment to positively impacting youth in the slums of Kisumu has not. With your help, the MYRC has been able to continue providing its programs and help youth in a variety of ways.

 One of the most exciting experiences for our youth is getting to interact with visitors who come to spend time with the MYRC and participate in its activities. We always welcome guests and are continually looking to host internships within our programs. We had the opportunity to welcome back visitors from Tornbjerg Gynasium in Denmark who came for a second visit. They enjoyed playing soccer and interacting with the community. We also continue to receive visitors through the YMCA in Kisumu. A new group from Norway came to our training ground and donated new soccer cleats, while another visitor from Britain donated jerseys for our under-12 team.

 The MYRC received another very special visitor who is also a clear example of how our program is changing lives. An increasing number of our youth soccer players are moving on to play at the professional level and most recently a player we call Rambo, who had travelled to Spain to train with Real Betis FC as well as Seville FC, returned to inspire the young members, telling them of his experiences. Rambo was on our original u-14 team (see photos of Rambo through the years) and continued to play with us into our semi-professional adult team. When Rambo went off to college in Nairobi, he never missed a chance to come back and train with his old team when he visited Kisumu and even played in some matches during his holiday breaks. We are hoping Rambo will return to Spain to play for one of the clubs there. When Rambo returned recently to Kisumu, he spent time at our training grounds inspiring our players. He is a young man who was once facing similar circumstances as theirs, but through his own hard work and the training he received from the MYRC, he has earned an opportunity of a lifetime. Three other players who were on our original u-14 soccer team now play professional soccer in the Kenyan Premier League, for Thika United, Tusker FC and Sony Sugar FC.

 It is no surprise to us that our players are starting to get such recognition, because we have seen them train and grow from a young age into adulthood. Our adult semi-professional team, which is made up of our former youth players, continues their season unbeaten, after playing 11 matches. You can read about our latest match by following this link: http://www.soka.co.ke/news/item/unbeaten-manyatta-united-keen-on-promotion. We feel confident that our players have the quality to play in the next division up, but we are not able to raise enough funds to see that season through. We believe that taking our players to the next level is an important step to getting our players more opportunities to be recognized and given a chance to play professionally. We continue to look for a sponsor that can support our senior players. Please contact us if you are interested in helping make that goal a reality.

 Since we began in 2009, we have had a partnership with the local school Bishop Abiero Shaurimoyo Primary School. We have held our trainings for the u-12, u-14, u-16, and u-18 teams here since we started. We always want to recognize and thank Shaurimoyo Primary for allowing us to train and host matches. We have conducted community clean ups, tree plantings and fence building around Shaurimoyo. We recently donated soccer uniforms to their school’s team and have donated balls, boots and goal nets in the past.

 In our Performing Arts section, our drama team has continued with production of their mini-series titled, “Anita.” So far the group, organized by their group leader Ramsey, has produced 5 episodes, and they are getting a great deal of experience with all the different facets of its production. By supporting this group of youth, the MYRC is helping them learn and improve their skills in video editing, cinematography, acting, sound editing, screen writing, organizing, directing and so much more. Through experiences at the MYRC, young people in Kisumu can hone their talent, develop their goals, and develop skills that would otherwise be out of reach for them. You can view some of the latest episodes by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4-cy_whYsS2_ocwGPoGL9w

 The MYRC began their tenth year by taking part as a host of an annual peace tournament. Started by the MYRC in 2009 as the Pendo Moja Peace Tournament, each year we have put on a tournament that uses the venue of soccer to teach about peace and conflict resolution. This year we partnered with several organizations to make it a larger and more impactful event. This year’s theme was, “Local Action Towards Peaceful Co-Existence.”

 Throughout the years our commitment to our programs has been steadfast, and our focus on building a more peaceful and just society has been maintained. We believe that our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, so if we can teach them lessons of peace and co-existence while also inspiring them to follow their dreams, we will have a much brighter future in Kisumu, Kenya and the world. Thank you so much for all of your support!

Rambo on left of Equip Manyatta Co-founder Meghan
Rambo on left of Equip Manyatta Co-founder Meghan
Coach Carina gives uniforms to Shaurimoyo School
Coach Carina gives uniforms to Shaurimoyo School
Danish visitors tour Kisumu with MYRC youth
Danish visitors tour Kisumu with MYRC youth
YouTube Mini-series "Anita" being filmed
YouTube Mini-series "Anita" being filmed
MYRC Drama Team Leader Ramsey
MYRC Drama Team Leader Ramsey
 
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