As we focus on one of our core values of unity, we have come to realize that the best way to bring a community together is through sport.
As a referee who has officiated in the U.S. Soccer Federation Referee Program (USSF), and high schools, I have witnessed the joy of children, their families, friends, and even strangers as they come together to enjoy soccer games. Safety of the soccer players is principal. The basic protective gear worn by players reassures guardians that their children are in safe hands. On the contrary, my heart breaks when I visit Zimbabwe and go into some of the communities of my childhood to watch local children, after hard seven hours of school and thereafter cattle herding with very little to eat and no recreational time at all. As they tend to the goats and cattle they make do with balls made from newspapers and plastic bags, bare feet, and rusty goals (if at all there is one) that look like an accident waiting to happen. Playing the game they love using balls made from newspapers and plastic bags, rusty goal posts and running around with their bare feet in the thorny grounds. Despite their predicament, the children play as they continue on their quest to enjoy the moments they have together as they perfect their skills in the sport that unites them.” Farirai Berejena
Sporting activities in Zimbabwe and many African countries were for years funded through the school system. In most cases they were part of after school activities. Economic hardships caused mainly by an unstable political environment have forced schools to abandon sporting activities and channel the resources they have towards academic programs. This has left thousands of kids in both urban and rural areas with no form of recreation. Besides lacking basic exercise, kids end up rooming the streets aimlessly. In urban settings some kids end up looking for illegal ways of making a quick dollar. Girls get pregnant and drop out of school.
The entire community benefits from sporting activities in schools. Most communities have no recreational centers and schools become the center for everything especially in rural areas. Parents and community leaders take the opportunity to meet and discuss various community problems while cheering their children. Soccer and other games are in some areas, the only form of entertainment.
We believe that the reviving of sporting activities will bring back a sense of purpose and something to look forward to after school for most students. For the under-achievers it’s a motivation to go to school.
We believe sports is a tool that can be used to educate the youth on the value of life and education and the introduction of tournaments will also increase the youth’s self-esteem and boost their confidence.
We are currently targeting school going children. Primary school up to secondary school in rural communities. Our target age groups are from seven to eighteen years. We hope to bring back the excitement of school through sports and reduce the number of school dropouts.