“I’m able to communicate with you confidently because of what I have learnt from hoops for kids….” says Grace captain of the under 14
Walking into Korogocho for the first time I didn’t know what to expect. In the heart of one of Kenya’s slums was a positive and inspiring story about Sports! We could see the Dandora dumpsite in a distance as we walked to St John’s Sports and Cultural Center where we meet a group of kids between the ages of 7-18 going through their paces on the basketball court. All with smiles, enthusiasm and eagerness written all over their faces!!
Hoops for Kids is an Initiative that was started in 2016, and run by coaches Paul Swagi, Brian Busaka,Wesley Mulimu, Collins Odhiambo and Oswal Johannes to empower children from the surrounding community. Their main aim is to teach these kids life skills through basketball. They learn different skills every month for example this month they were learning about responsibility. Some of the children were rescued from the dumpsite where they we doing drugs. For these kids who grow up in difficult circumstances this initiative has really improved their lives in different ways but mainly by giving them a sense of belonging.
”We faced a lot of challenges when we first began especially from the community who saw basketball as ‘rich people’ sport…” says coach Brian
It took time for the community to warm up to the idea and eventually parents allowed their kids be part of the initiative. For a program that heavily depends on well wishers and support from other organizations like Enda they have really come of age. Having teams for the U9 (began 2 months ago), U14 and U18 who participate in different competitions around Nairobi. With this program kids are able to stay away from crime and danger which eventually leads to them being better in school as well as nature their different talents.
Most of the individuals who work behind the scenes are just volunteers from the community who strive to better the lives of these kids. From kits, balls, shoes and sports bras for the girls they need support as the number of kids continue to increase. As we head to the festive season, this would be a fantastic program to support in different ways from donating stuff to paying them a visit or even offering scholarships!
Respect, Responsibility, Communication simple words but for these kids its their ticket to a better life as well as what stands between them and crime, drugs or even death!!
All in all there is hope for the future after all and Sports again is proving that No human is limited !!