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    On the surface of things

    Day 139

    Flat & Safe

    It’s something you might not think about the next time you bounce a basketball. But having a flat court to dribble on is certainly a key to the game. It keeps the ball from bouncing in unexpected ways. If the playing surface is flat it’s one less thing players need to worry about navigating during an intense game of basketball.

    The basketball court in Nakivale is unlike most courts you might see. The court surface undulates with mini ravines and a patch of gravel in the middle. The court is in a high traffic spot in the settlement, and the players sometimes even need to dodge bikers and motorcyclists looking for a shortcut through the middle of their game. Skyy, the coach of the basketball teams in Nakivale, told us that many of his players have been injured while playing.

    We thought at least something could be done to improve the court. So, we hired a team of workers in the camp to tackle the court surface. Over a couple of days they dug it all out, reset the basketball posts, and leveled and measured out a regulation size court. By the end, the court was flat, and our team had taken care of many of the hazards of the court. They even strung up a temporary fence to protect players from intrusions in the court.

    “This is my dream – I love it so much,” said Skyy. “ I teach the kids to play. So many drink beer, but basketball helps them avoid bad behavior. I’m so excited, we might even be able to get other teams to come here and play with us.”

    The leveled court made a big difference, but there’s still more to can do with the basketball team. The teams (kids, women’s and men’s) have shared some of the additional things they need – one of which is a layer of concrete on their court to really make it a proper basketball court. They’ll all be running in a World Refugee Day 5k in Nakivale – alongside other refugee youth – to raise money for their ideas. You can learn more at

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


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