Today, our soccer teams will be participating in a tournament with 60 other teams from throughout East Africa, including Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. Uweza has three teams participating in the tournament, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-20. The teams will be playing in multiple matches per day until the tournament ends on Sunday.
Both the players and coaches have been training overtime for the past few week in order to prepare for the tournament. They have had practice every day, sometimes twice a day and are really excited about getting the opportunity to participate in such a big event. Our coaches plan to use bicycles so they can quickly rotate between matches, which will be occurring simultaneously throughout Kibera and surrounding areas.
This week, we purchased new balls, first aid supplies, and 20 new pairs of shoes for our Under 12 team.
We wish them the best of luck in their matches today and will post again soon with the results!
In May, we interviewed some of the players in our soccer program about why they like playing on the Uweza teams. Their responses surprised us and speak to the impact the program is having on their lives.
Today is World Humanitarian Day and you may find yourself wondering how you can be a good humanitarian and make a difference today. Well look no further than the Uweza blog!
Here are some suggestions of things you can do to celebrate:
1. Donate! Just $10 can pay one of our soccer coaches for a three training sessions or send a child to school for two months. A little bit goes a long way in Kenya. Seriously.
2. “Like” our Facebook page, suggest it to your friends, and even share this blog post if you are feeling particularly ambitious.
3. Visit the Uweza shop and purchase some Kenyan-made jewelry for yourself, your mom, your friend, your sister, and your grandma.
4. Follow us on Twitter.
5. Watch some (or all) of the videos on our video page to learn more about Uweza and where we work.
6. Gather soccer supplies. We are always in need of shoes, practice jerseys, and socks. Email us at email@example.com for more information.
7. Join our mailing list.
8. Hold an Uweza fundraiser. Email us for more details.
9. Employer donation matching. If you are a frequent donor (or a one-time donor. or a prospective donor!), check to see if your employer will match your donation to Uweza.
10. Follow this blog! Click “Follow” on the sidebar to the right.
Click HERE to read the most recent report from our counselors.
Our new Sponsorship Program Coordinator, William Moi Otieno or “Moi” has been managing the Sponsorship Program since March of this year. He has really helped improve the program and is constantly making suggestions for improving its productivity and sustainability. Being a father of six children and long-time resident of Kibera himself, Moi is able to relate to the parents in our program and figure out solutions that will best suit their needs.
He also is the Program Director of a savings and loans group in Kibera. The group meets every week and each member is responsible for contributing to the savings of the group. After saving for five weeks, members are eligible for a small loan, that they pay back interest free. Repayment of the first loan makes a member eligible for a second and then third loan. Emergency loans are available for group members that find themselves in particularly rough spots in their life.
In May, after interacting with the parents in the program, he suggested to us that four of the mothers of our students join the savings and loan group so that they could start sustainable businesses and be able to better support themselves and their families. We provided half of the funds for the initial five weeks of savings (the mothers were responsible for matching the amounts) as well as the initial loan, which will be paid back to the group. Three of the mothers have started new businesses – selling household goods, selling shoes, and selling doughnuts. The fourth has added the loan funding to an already existing small restaurant that she runs in a market.
Getrude has started a business selling Mandazi (or doughnuts) Theresa has started a business selling Mali Mali (assorted household items)
Last weekend, on July 31, 2010 our friends Gilbert and Kelly were married in California.
Gilbert is a Kenyan and has volunteered with Uweza to develop an HIV Peer Education program (read his blog post here). Gilbert and Kelly met in 2008 while Kelly was in Kenya doing volunteer work. Since then, they have maintained a long-distance relationship and have both been dedicated to giving back to those in need in Kenya. In June of this year, Gilbert traveled to the United States to prepare for their wedding and new life together.
Not only have Gilbert and Kelly held seminars on HIV and provided meals and learning laptops to school children on their own, the couple generously created an Uweza Registry, encouraging wedding guests to donate to Uweza in lieu of receiving gifts. We hope to contribute the funds raised through their wedding toward building a brand new community center in Kibera.
We are so grateful for their support and wish them a lifetime of happiness!
Tomorrow, Kenyans will be voting to accept or reject a new constitution. The new constitution is thought to be important in that it limits the power of national politicians and gives more power to local leaders. It creates a commission to manage public land and recognizes Muslim Courts. It also gives Kenyans a bill of rights and creates a senate. The constitution is being backed by both Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, who ran against in each other in the 2007 presidential election that turned into violence and chaos.
There has been some violence and tension in the months before the election and although the majority of Kenyans are in support of the new constitution, there is opposition, mostly from religious leaders, due to the recognition of Muslim courts and a section about abortion.
If you are interested in learning more about the vote and the new constitution, you can check out these links:
“Kenya Stakes Its Reinvention on a Referendum” (New York Times article)
“Kenya holds its breath on eve of vote on new constitution” (Washington Post article)
“Kenya prepares for referendum” (Al Jazeera video)
A smoothly run vote, transparent ballot counting, and peace following the announcement of the results would be a big step for Kenya. Our employees and friends in the country believe that things will run smoothly tomorrow and we’re hoping that no matter the results, everything goes well and everyone remains safe.