Leah Ambwaya visited this project as part of a GlobalGiving evaluation. She met some of the people affected by Trans-nzoia Youth Sports Association. Here are their stories:
When we met Metrine a 20 year old girl she is jovial and full of life standing out like a girl who comes from a well off family, but this is not the case when you listen to her, “When I did my primary education I knew that was the end of my life” she poses and looks down shyly “But why?” I ask, she looks up confidently and continues “ I come from a very poor family and nobody goes beyond primary, and my life was complicated further when I got pregnant” this come as a surprise as she doesn’t stand out as a mother, Metrine goes on to narrate on how poverty and lack of basic needs led her into early motherhood but she later beams with a smile and says “Thanks to Tysa because due to counsel and support I am a dependable footballer striker in position 9, after my talent was realized I am now in Kapenguria polytechnic undertaking a two year Tailoring course”.
Lameck is 26 years old, when we sat down with him in the Tysa resource centre he stood up as one of the youths milling around the sports ground, anxiously waiting for the whistle blow so as to start playing there favorites sport which is soccer, after we introduce ourselves and mission of the visit we ask the gentleman to introduce himself. My partner and I look at each other in amazement when Lameck introduces himself and goes further to say “I am a farmer from the nearby villages but volunteer my services here at TYSA as a sports facilitator” we are surprised because the rains have just come and everybody is busy working on their farms either planting or weeding since the grounds are soft. To answer our question Lameck takes us through his experience during the post election violence and how TYSA really helped in the healing process and him being a victim of this violence the least he could do to appreciate the efforts by Tysa was to offer his services, he quips “I feel great when I sacrifice an hour or two just to volunteer my services, to an organization that’s helping in the peace building initiative after the post election violence” Lameck explains to us if the youth are not engaged in such initiatives on how to live in harmony they are the same people who will turn against each other, butchering each other like chicken in 20212. They are the key to peace in the community. “I need to go clear with the boys before going back to my farm” we thank him for his time, at the point he runs back to the field where girls and boys are involved in different activities.
From her dressing,Mercyline is a modern girl, after we introduce ourselves and request to know her, the young girls goes on without posing on how she used to be a very shy girl after her final year of Kenya secondary certificate of education ,we interrupt her “What happened?” with a lot of pride she continues “I joined Tysa and after counseling and empowerment I realized as a young growing woman I need to actively find my place in the society, and that’s when I joined the soccer team” she goes on tell us about her prowess in the field before adding “ I am now a form 6 student in Mashariki high school Kampala Uganda, Infarct I am a professional y unstoppable no. 7 player” she prides “After my high school I will be a lawyer putting behind bars anybody who treads on children and women rights ,If not I will be a journalist to highlight on this issues”. We wish her all the best in her Endeavour’s believing she will definitely achieve her goals and beyond.
Collins Samuel is an 11 year old boy behind a wheelchair beaming with smiles, pushing the weel chair is his mother Elizabeth Ng’aleche.The mother goes on to narrate how Sammy was born prematurely at 7 months and placed in an incubator. She tells us how they thought the boy was a curse forcing them to hide him as an outcast until God brought Gichuki who has helped her and other parent who have children with special needs to appreciate the facts this children are just like any other. “As you can see, now Samuel has a wheel chair and Tysa has found him a school in Kisumu and he is joining very soon.” “You see that man”, she quips referring to a Mr. Francis Gichuki the Director and founder of TYSA, he has spend so much time with me and my family, encouraging us to give Collins a chance, he took us to Joy land school in Kisumu to have Collins assed by experts, we always pray for him”.
Samson is another 11 year old boy with special needs, quite special because his is mentally challenged. The father, Michael Kitio is says Samson is his 3rd born “We first noticed Sam had a problem when he clocked 4 years without walking” as he narrates Samson is sharing a bottle of water with my collogue Leah, who doesn’t seem bothered with his state. The father goes on on tell us how he dug a whole neck high the height of sam and would burry him inside everyday for 2 hours for a period of 4 months until he started walking. At this particular moment Samson is comfortably patching on Leah’s laps and in deep conversation, this is quite hilarious since from when we got here is it’s the only time I have seen the boy settle and sit down, “Its motherly communication” I tell myself.
The father is very grateful “Thanks to Tysa,after some therapy he can now feed himself, he is able to play and do some activities like move things from one point to another” .Tysa has managed to secure and sponsor Samson to a special School in Eldoret town about 100 miles from the village. I am forever grateful to TYSA, they have taken a big burden off my shoulders, my son can now walk and he is attending school.” We learn that the Director of the project has a very special interest in this children with special needs, he does school visitations all the time, Samson love Gichuki.
Leah also spoke to many of the beneficiaries. Here's what they had to say:
"TYSA has enabled me complete school after being out for one year. I have attended various training workshops which have built y capacity in leadership, community mobilization and event management.
TYSA offers excellent opportunity and space for build our future. You can buy a car (Prado) through this leg, by playing football. Through sports, we come together here in the field and this reduces our involvement in social ill activities
"TYSA sponsored my secondary education. Through TYSA, I have trained as a soccer coach and currently am in charge of sports and recreation in the organization. I stand in for the Director when he is out of the office. I enjoy every moment in the organization as I get mentored into leadership.
Mary Juma (community parents’ representative):
"TYSA has offered support to the many girls and boys in this community to access education, training and exposure. As a community we are happy with the work of this organization and we shall continue to support it.
My own daughter refused to participate in the TYSA activities and now she is married; I was telling my daughter to come to this field and play with other girls but she refused, only to learn later that she was planning to get married. I am so disturbed."
Joseph Marube (Community parents’ Representative):
"TYSA has shaped the minds of the youths as today they are involved in sports and do not have time to participate in ad behaviors. As parents we are aware of the children movement. If I want to know where my child is, I just come to the field here and I find him."
"I was affected by the 2008 post election violence and lived in the Noigam IDP camp till it as closed. It is here where TYSA found me. I volunteered to work with the organization in running daily sports and games activities. Since then I have remained with the organization. TYSA has trained me in coaching and have attended training workshops.
Through TYSA, many girls who were in the IDP camps were sponsored to secondary schools. Counseling of those traumatized during the violence has assisted many to return to normal life."
"I am a student in Mashariki High School in Kampala Uganda. TYSA played an important role in supporting me. Initially I never knew what to do. I was so enclosed in our home. One time, I walked out and came to the field. I found so many girls playing different sports. Slowly I was attracted and joined the group.
While at the sports ground, I discovered myself more and TYSA opened up more opportunity for me including access higher education. I was very shy and unable to talk in public unlike today when I am very confident."