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MYSA: Giving youth a sporting chance on and off the field

Copyrights: MYSA

MYSA: Giving youth a sporting chance on and off the field

MYSA started in 1987 as a small self-help youth project in the Mathare area, one of Africa's largest and poorest slums.

MYSA Kenya sustainability depends on the over 26,000 youth volunteers from the Nairobi slum areas, with over 1,800 boys and girls teams in over 140 leagues in 16 zones, participate in MYSA’s sports, slum cleanup, AIDS prevention, leadership training and other community development activities. In 2016 MYSA Kenya will be celebrating 30 years of giving youth a sporting chance on and off the field.

For Arnold Kamau, Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) is not only a source of hope and but also a second home. Born and raised in Githurai, Arnold, just like many other MYSA youths joined the organization through football where he featured for Barcelona FC as a young boy before his affair with the juala ball (football made out of waste plastic bags) and consequently zonal league football was cut short by a nasty knee injury at the tender age of ten.

“It was really a big setback for me because I really loved playing football. Football really kept me busy during my free time and this helped me to keep away from bad peer pressure,” recalled the 18 year old.

Unsettled by his injury layoff, Arnold desperately needed an avenue to keep him occupied and rescue him from the fangs of crime and other social vices in the slums of Majengo deep inside Githurai. Fortunately the ray of hope arrived almost immediately in 2009 in the form of the MYSA library that was set up just a walking distance from his home.

At the library, Arnold—a class four student then—had easy access to books which provided a perfect substitute for football since a huge chunk of his free time was spent gathering knowledge. Interestingly it did no take long before his results at school changed for the better. The spindly teenager moved from strength to strength in class and scored 324 marks in the KCPE exam in the process earning a Form One slot at Ng’enia High School in Limuru,Kenya.

“Arnold has been coming to the library since we started out and he is one of the most disciplined students that we have around. He performs very well in school and the young ones really look up to him,” asserts Leah, the MYSA Githurai zone library attendant.

For all his exemplary performance in primary school, Arnold suffered yet another setback upon admission at Ng’enia that kept him out of school for majority of his first year of secondary school education. A series of pneumonia cases saw Arnold fail to hit the required class attendance threshold and as a result he had to be repeat Form One starting 2014 at a school near his home due to his health condition-Kahawa Garrison High School which is 3oo metre from home.

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Visit the MYSA website for more information.

[This article was submitted by Susan M.A Otieno, Communications and Marketing Manager, Mathare Youth Sports Association]


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Monday, December 5, 2016 - 18:00

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