In 2013, the Bwiza Sun Team won second place at a Rwandan soccer competition - a great victory for the poorest kids around . COVID-19 interrupted team sports and now the boys and girls need equipment to be able to bring a team back together. Children and young people need joy and play in their lives. Happiness and social competition will grow their self-esteem and positive outlook on life, and will help the community address social problems like substance abuse, depression, and violence.
A community of 400 Pygmies lives in a suburb of Kigali, Rwanda. Known locally as the "people left behind by history", over half are adolescents and children. Many of the adults lack primary education and skills to earn a living. Once they were prosperous entertainers at the palace of the Rwandan King. Now, they are among the poorest, least educated people in the country, living day to day and hoping to earn enough to eat. The kids are socially isolated with few outlets for healthy play.
Soccer is one of their few real joys and brings all the community together. It is also a way for people from different social levels to come together and learn how to be together peacefully and with respect for each other. They play barefoot on the rocky ground and without a real ball, they wind string together and kick it around just to have some fun. Teamwork, cooperation and success on the soccer field can be the basis for a more cohesive society.
The project will provide soccer equipment to support soccer teams for 100 boys and girls and allow them to bridge gaps in their society created by a history of Genocide and misunderstanding. It will also build physical health and offer a constructive way to deal with depression and the temptation of substance abuse.