Six years ago a young Canadian volunteer and karate black belt, Robbie Hughes founded the karate program at Maison de la Gare. Karate was Robbie’s passion, and he wanted to share it with the children of Maison de la Gare when he visited to volunteer with his family.
Over the years Robbie has returned many times to Maison de la Gare, to train with the talibés, expand the karate program, and to identify and register talibé children who were developing a similar passion for karate and who were ready to advance their skills, at the local dojo, Sor Karate with sensei Ignéty Ba.
In Robbie’s words:
While the karate program at Maison de la Gare offers strength and agility development and teaches kids important self defence skills, its main objective is to promote and facilitate the discovery of discipline, confidence, leadership and sportsmanship.
In my opinion the greatest accomplishment of the Karate Can Kick Hopelessness project is the ongoing development of discipline. Discipline isn’t only important to karate, it is an essential factor to learning how to progress regardless of the challenges we face, and to eventually leading a productive and fulfilling life, no matter who you are or where you live.
Discipline unlocks an individual’s ability to be their best self. It teaches one how to get things done, how to have the courage to move forward when life feels hard. Sometimes there are days when I don’t feel like getting out of bed at 6:00am to do a workout or to go to work after a full day of classes. But years of training karate and the example of my senseis gave me the discipline to do what needs to be done. We all have little hills we need to climb from time to time. But the talibés have mountains to climb each and every day. They leave their daaras before the sun rises. They spend hours each day begging on their own on the streets, they do not have parents or teachers to encourage or lead them and they never have enough to eat. They return to their daaras in the dark, not to beds, loving parents, and a hot meal, but to a cold floor, a hand held out to receive their begging quotas, with grumbling stomachs. Mountains. Every day.
When you give someone the opportunity to pursue and learn difficult things, they can learn something unique about themselves from accomplishment as well as failure. They can learn that they have the ability inside of them to overcome the hard and seemingly impossible challenges in life. Such as the challenges talibés face every day of their lives. Overcoming challenge and learning skills also gives a person the opportunity to become proud of themselves. Like myself, for many of Maison de la Gare’s karate kids martial arts has been the catalyst for a deeper realization of individual ability, self worth, and understanding of the discipline needed to overcome life’s challenges.
Until now Robbie has given annual presentations at his home dojo in Ottawa to encourage families of his fellow karateka to sponsor talibés in Senegal to also be able to join and train in their local dojo, and has encouraged donations when attending WKC World Karate Championships as a member of Team Canada. Unfortunately, this year due to Covid-19 Robbie has not been able to encourage donations and sponsorships in person as he usually does. The talibés karatekas of Maison de la Gare-Sor Karate need your help so their dojo memberships can be renewed and so new talibé karateka who are ready to join the dojo are able to register.
Donations to the karate program through GlobalGiving allow the talibés who have grown to love karate the ability to continue to practice the sport they love, to continue to grow in their independence and confidence and skill. Your donations will offer the gift of martial arts to more talibés, more opportunity for talibés to feel seen and supported by the world. More opportunity to learn confidence and discipline. And, more opportunity for them to shine and be celebrated as individuals, to become heroes and role models to other talibé children.
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