Today’s blog from Laura about girls on the street in Mwanza, and the four female participants on the QPR coaching course this week:
“Although the Tanzanians are only entering a boys’ team in the Street Child World Cup 2014, the girls aren’t forgotten. On the course there are four ladies who are increasing their coaching skills. Two of them are teachers from local primary schools and two are players at TSC Academy. Nyangi is 19 and as well as playing for TSC Girls, she also coaches them and teaches at the Kuleana Centre. She has firsthand experience of working with the children and thinks that the StreetKickz programme will help her to improve her coaching sessions with the boys at the centre.
Currently, Kuleana is only set up to house boys but that looks set to change with the new StreetBorn programme. Implemented recently by the centre and bolstered by the hiring of three new social workers in January of this year, StreetBorn works with young mothers from the streets. They provide support and rehabilitation where possible but also physical support such as medicine for the babies. Clara, a recently employed social worker with a degree in community development said that some girls prefer to stay on the streets because they can earn lots of money through stealing, begging or prostitution but they still face difficult challenges, especially with a baby in tow so the programme has to reach out to them in their environment.
Although the girls can’t stay at the Kuleana Centre, plans are well underway to convert a residential home for volunteers and staff into a house for the girls. The aim is not to provide a long-term room but a short-term place where girls can come off the streets with their babies, get the crucial counselling and support needed for teenage mothers and then try to find a home of their own or with their families.
Near the house is the Saba Saba pitch, home ground for TSC and training ground for all the teams. On a Wednesday, the girls come to train. This Wednesday Nyangi was leading the session with some new drills learnt in the coaching training. She certainly put the other girls through their paces and TSC has a team to be reckoned with.
Another positive outcome for today was the talk by Clara to participants. George, the police officer from the community team, was especially engaged and asked lots of questions. After the session, he stopped Clara to exchange numbers and talked about how the police could collaborate with StreetBorn. This is another example of how football is the mechanism of bringing people together and so many good things come out of it.
At the end of the training at Saba Saba whilst the other girls played a match, we asked Nyangi what she would like to do in the future. She said she would like to get better at coaching and become the coach of the National Women’s Team of Tanzania. Big aspirations, but you know what, having seen her in action, I think she might just do it.”
“It was a privilege to be invited to the launch of the Street Child World Cup at Downing Street. It gives children a voice through football, sales a platform to express their rights and celebrate their abilities – I’m proud to add my support.”
“No child should have to live on the streets. I commend the Street Child World Cup for providing a platform for the rights of street children to be heard.”
“I know from personal experience just what power football can have to inspire and change young people’s lives whatever their background or nationality. This is what the Street Child World Cup is all about and I give it my full support.”