"Sport for Peace helped me become less aggressive and argumentative and also to differentiate between good and bad."
- NEEMA SABINA, child participant
When our Sport for Peace program was first introduced in the marginalized, remote village of Rwenena, DRC, some community members were skeptical. It didn't take long for them to see the value.
In short periods of classroom time throughout the summer, our rising first graders ages 5-7 learned how to count to 5, how to write on a chalkboard, and how to speak greetings and introductions in French.
Outdoors, these children - from 3 different ethnic groups that have experienced conflict over the years - began by sharing their life stories and getting to know one another in a safe space. Their soccer tournaments put the most emphasis on working collaboratively and problem solving, with the children reaching peaceful resolutions among themselves. Each session includes a pre-game agreement on rules and values, a soccer match, and a post-game discussion about the lessons learned.The children determine the winning team not only by goals scored but also by the best fair play skills, including mutual respect.
Today parents describe the positive impact of the program on their children, including physical wellness and social and emotional development. Community members have pooled resources to increase the participation of children, with some parents assisting trainers.
"I feel a significant reduction in the conflict taking place in schools, and a similar transformation at home and in the community."
- Makolo MASHIMANGO, Parent Committee Chair
"The program helped children improve their communication skills, to get to know one another, to have the courage to attend school, to become socially integrated, and to experience peace and joy."
- Pastor Mikeno NZIGE, coach and community leader
Your donations are making a huge impact! Without them, this sorely needed aspect of education would not be possible. The children are learning skills that have the potential to transform the community. They are gaining awareness of the benefits of treating one another with the dignity and respect they deserve. Please consider making a donation today to keep our education program strong.
Enjoying the Game
Balls Generate Joy