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    Helping kids in Kismayo connect on the soccer pitch

    Day 86

    New Kids on the Block

    Were you ever the new kid at the start of a school year? Or do you remember the kids that were? You might remember that time being kind of awkward – making friends, adjusting to already established routines and ways of doing things. It can be tough.

    Now imagine that scenario but on a grand scale – thousands of former refugees returning back to Kismayo, Somalia, after decades away. In fact, most people under the age of 30 have never even been to Somalia before. With that many people coming to town, there are a lot of new kids on the block.

    In Kismayo, we help ease that integration process, especially for young people. And one of the best ways to do that? Sports, of course!

    “ARC has been doing big programs with integration,” said Zaila from the ARC team. “And sports – especially soccer – have really made an impact.”

    The Youth Center that Zaila helps to run has regular soccer games and tournaments for teens made up of both former refugees and longtime residents. It’s a way for both groups to get to know each other a little – sometimes it’s easier to connect over an activity.

    But they were missing one thing to make them feel more official – jerseys! For Day 86, the solution was simple…

    We got enough jerseys for two teams to compete in style. And the players loved them!

    “Kids want to spend time with each other, to get to know each other,” said Zaila.

    These new and colorful jerseys will help them feel just a little more official as they show up on the pitch.

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    Changemakers 365

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