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    Creating an epicenter for sports

    Day 203

    Second(ary) to None

    In all of Nakivale refugee settlement (population approximately 130,000), there is only one secondary school. Home to hundreds of students, including many who live on-site, the school is a place for students to dream big and work toward their goals. Students used the school as a place to work – and they wanted a place to play, too. But Ali, the headmaster, recognized there was something missing.

    “Our fields are poor, and we have no courts” he says. “I want to build a standard pitch for everyone to play.” Ali’s dream is to transform an empty field below the main school buildings into a model recreation sports center – for students and the communities.

    But the area needed some major work. So we’ve devoted the next few days to transforming the dusty field into a place where people would gather for sports. Ali compared the dream of their new fields to a community gathering spaces, just like the churches in the nearby neighborhoods. “If we go to the same churches, why not the same recreation space? This will bring the community together.”

    The first thing that was needed was to level the pitch for the volleyball court, which was uneven because it was built on a hillside. Next, workers slashed the grass from the edges of the playing area and painted lines showing the different field areas. A team of engineers got to work with school officials to measure and demarcate the futbol and volleyball pitches as well as a track running alongside. And finally, futbol and volleyball poles and nets were installed.

    Standing and admiring the work, Ali was beyond pleased. “This is exactly what we wanted” he said. “Sports bring people together. This will change lives.” Stay tuned tomorrow to see the students’ reaction to the new facilities.

    Thank you to Scott Nelsen, Clif Bar, Nergis Petersen, SweatShop Health Club, Mary M. Bell, Jeanne Harrington and anonymous donors for making the new volleyball courts a reality!

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    Changemakers 365

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