KENYA: Youth race with sports ambassador
Marathon runner visits Don Bosco Boys Town and highlights importance of sports for street children
(MissionNewswire) More than 350 children and older youth raced with Luke Kelly, a 22-year-old marathon runner and a member of the famous musical group “Kelly Family” from Germany, on his most recent trip to Kenya. Some of the youth were street children who have found a new home at Don Bosco Boys Town (Bosco Boys) in Nairobi.
In October, Kelly visited the Kenyan capital to learn about Don Bosco’s work with street children. He said, “Everyone should be given the chance to live a dignified life. It impressed and inspired me to see how effective and close Don Bosco’s help is to the children. The enthusiasm with which the children ran along was incredible. Boys and girls of all ages joined in. It was truly the run of my life.”
In the future, Kelly would also like to inspire German children to run and learn the work of Don Bosco. He has school visits planned in 2023 to spread the word about this initiative. Kelly stressed the important values such as discipline, perseverance and community that youth learn through sports. He explained, “Sport plays a very special role in the rehabilitation of street children. I have experienced this with the Bosco Boys.”
Dr. Nelson Penedo, managing director of Don Bosco Mission Bonn in Germany, said, “We are very happy to have won Luke as an ambassador. He will certainly inspire children and young people for sports not only in Nairobi, but also in Germany.”
Don Bosco Boys Town provides education and technical skills training to former street children. Students who complete their primary education are then assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in sister institutions. The secondary education is most often provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School in the town of Embu, northeast of Nairobi.
According to the World Bank, more than 7.8 million people in Kenya are living in extreme poverty, with the majority in rural areas. There are approximately 6.6 million people living on less than $1.90 a day in rural regions, while 1.1 million extremely poor people live in urban areas. Overall, the poverty incidence declined in recent years, but at a lower rate in urban areas than rural ones.
Youth living in Kenya’s larger cities like Nairobi are at risk for exploitation, forced labor and other abuses. Few attend the later stages of school as compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families.
Salesian Missions – Kenya
World Bank – Kenya