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Oct 2, 2016

Summer Success!

Exuberant Celebration
Exuberant Celebration

"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
Enjoying the Game
Gal Pals
Gal Pals
Balls Generate Joy
Balls Generate Joy
Jul 5, 2016

Groundbreaking Summer Program!

Our summer program brings rare joy to these kids.
Our summer program brings rare joy to these kids.

We’re excited to tell you about our new and unique summer initiative, designed for the Rwenena Primary School's 30 rising first-grade students. Grounded by community support and enthusiasm, our program offers a fun introduction to school appreciated by kids and parents alike. Features include:

  • a classroom component for age-appropriate early learning, combining fun with numbers, phonics, stories, and expression through art.
  • an established regional “sport and peace” initiative, adapted for Rwenena’s young children with active involvement and participation of parents. Regional experts provided training for two local coaches: a female teacher who serves as a role model for girls as well as boys; and the local male pastor, a respected leader of the community.

But something happened along the way: The community came together and initiated a second age-appropriate component for children ages 3 to 4.5 years.

A 38-year-old mother reports:

“ I say that making a program meant for children is a good thing and this helps them avoid wandering in the streets. It educates them and trains them at the same time.”

It’s funders like you who make this happen. Please consider a donation to keep this program running and to gear up for the school year ahead. Thank you!

Classroom fun has begun for our rising 1st graders
Classroom fun has begun for our rising 1st graders
The community comes together for their kids
The community comes together for their kids
Who says coaches can't have fun?
Who says coaches can't have fun?
Apr 6, 2016

The Resilience of Nyota

Nyota brightens up following a time of struggle
Nyota brightens up following a time of struggle

Nyota's life circumstances have not been in her favor. Her father was killed in the fighting in eastern DR Congo. Her mother is in chronic ill health. Her older sister is a survivor of sexual violence and has a young child, making Nyota an aunt. Nyota, her mother, and her siblings lived with her father's parents, who refused to pay school fees for Nyota, feeling that an education could do no good for a girl. Although Nyota was depressed and despondent, she persevered with attaining her passion, an education. Nyota had even tried gathering and selling firewood to raise her own school fees, but no one bought any from her. Every day, she went to the Rwenena Primary School. Because she was not enrolled, she was sent away. But her persistence was too much, and eventually a teacher allowed her in. She scored at or near the top of her class! When at last the principal of the school personally brought her to my attention, I instructed him to immediately enroll her. We also provided a uniform for her. 

This year, in grade 5, she has soared both socially and intellectually; she continues to score well in tests. Her mother observes that Nyota is happy at home and personally helps her with her schoolwork. We love to see parents not only allow their children the time to study at home but also to help them. Nyota's teacher and the school principal both observe "good relations of friendship, friendliness, and openness," adding that she is "disciplined, careful, calm, and non-confrontational in nature."

We thank those who have provided funds for Nyota and others like her. This is why we're doing what we're doing. Thanks for helping us continue our mission.

Nyota at home
Nyota at home
Proud Nyota
Proud Nyota
Nyota outside the school gates pre-enrollment
Nyota outside the school gates pre-enrollment
 
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