ZAMBIA: More than 144,000 Youth Have Access to Sports Activities Thanks to a Donation from One World Fútbol
(MissionNewswire) More than 140,000 youth in Salesian programs in Zambia have better access to sports and recreation thanks to a recent donation of 5,200 soccer balls. The donation was made possible through a partnership between Salesian Missions and One World Fútbol, an organization dedicated to bringing the healing power of play to youth worldwide by making, selling and distributing nearly indestructible balls that survive the harshest environments.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken its toll on Zambia’s children. More than 20,000 households in the country are headed by children whose parents have died because of HIV/AIDS. These young children are desperate for adult support to help meet their basic needs.
Salesians in Zambia are responding to children in crisis through education and social programs that provide basic needs and help youth break the cycle of poverty and go on to lead productive lives. Recreation and sports activities are an integral part of Salesian social development programs.
Sports programs teach valuable skills to youth both on and off the field. They offer unlimited opportunities for growth by simultaneously developing leadership, teamwork and social skills. The recent ball donation made possible by Salesian Missions and One World Fútbol benefited youth at Salesian orphanages, youth centers, schools (particularly those in rural areas) and some nursery schools and kindergartens.
“Since receiving the fútbols, we have seen a lot of positive changes and improvements in the youth that benefited from this donation,” says Father Louis Malama, provincial economer of the Salesians of Don Bosco Providence in Zambia. “Youth are very happy, and participation in school and sports activities has improved. In our youth centers, the number of boys and girls participating in the program has also increased due to the sports and games that have attracted many of them that had not been involved before.”
As a result of the donation, Salesian in Zambia have formed partnerships with local organizations such as the International Training Center, Olympic Youth Center and the Kasisi and Makeni Orphanages. The donation was shared with the poor youth in these programs allowing them to expand their recreation and sports activities and learn more about teamwork. Salesians were also able to share the donation with some of Zambia’s government-run schools.
“This donation has also benefited our entire organization and we are now working together with other community organizations to empower even more youth and promote the benefits of sports in schools and in the compounds,” adds Fr. Malama.
UNICEF – Zambia