Handball is not a well-known sport in the US. Described as a mix between soccer and basketball, it was codified in Germany and is popular in Europe. But as we have discovered in Nakivale Settlement over the past few weeks, it is very, very popular in Uganda. It is so popular that today’s idea – See Jane Play Handball – was the highest funded idea of all the teams running in the World Refugee Day 5K.
We asked Jane why the handball team is so important. “Handball is a good sport because anyone can play it” she says. “Men, women, boys and girls. I’d like to introduce the sport to the people in my neighborhood.” She wasn’t asking for much – just some equipment to get a team or two started. But as we’ve seen on many occasions, once someone gets a good idea, the plan snowballs into something bigger – and better.
We started off by getting Jane the equipment she needed – some team jerseys, handballs in different sizes for youth and adult teams, and a coach uniform for Jane herself. But once she saw the energy, especially among women in her community, she was ready to think big. “Now I want a tournament!” she exclaims. “It’s a competition for the mothers – something we can do together. We will sit together as a family.”
So in addition to the equipment, on Day 210 we are working with Jane, other community activists, and the Office of the Prime Minister to construct a new Handball pitch in the Kashojwa C neighborhood.
Fellow Community Activist Mwami is excited for the new gathering place for the community. “Some people think becoming a refugee is the end of life. It is not the end. This will bring people together. It will change lives.”
A very special thanks to everyone who supported Jane and her handball idea, including: Jimmy Johansson of Sweden; Female youth team IK Baltichov, Gothenburg; Jane in Minnesota; Jane Leahy; Linda G; Sofie & Matilda – Sweden; Oskar Mattelin; Emil D; Orebro SK Handboll Dam;
Torbjörn Eliason; and anonymous donors.