John Glynn: One final story from me before I move on to pastures new! It’s been a privilege to work with Race4Change for the last 6 months or more: many thanks for all your support and enthusiasm. Here’s Gabriel Kadidi in Nairobi:
I was a victim of the post-election violence 2007/8 in Kenya that you know very well. I know very well how the youths were seriously affected.
I have started and created Race4change Football Team and soon Race4change football tournaments in different slums for both girls and boys in the field of sports that I have organized. I strongly believe it will make a great change to spread peace and from the famous sport and teams around different slums, It has been received so well in Kibera as I did share it on my radio show.
In Kibera, I used my show to share the glory after the East Africa Classic Rally 2011 and shared how Race4change performed. I also shared to start Race4change football team with youths to fight idleness and motivate them, give hope and uplift their lives through the sport. This was received with great support by those who listened to me. I also met with the chiefs of the area who are great supporters of Jamiibora, and the administrations and elders of the villages who followed the Classic Rally and Race4change 2011.
Am happy to inform that I have already some of the youths who are ready to spread the gospel of peace through soccer and what the Race4change believes in. I almost lost my life through the last post election violence and I did lose some of the friends I grew up with, due to being used into violence due to lack of doing nothing which am fighting to keep the youth in sports through Race4change spirit.
In Kibera – the biggest slum in sub-Saharan Africa with the population of close to 2million – there are close to 110 young teams in 15 villages that I know personally and interact with. In Mathare, Mukuru, and most of major slums in Nairobi and where JamiiBora has branches countrywide through mobilization, there is going to be Race4change football tournaments. My idea is to make the youths learn how to change their lives, access loans, get to know their talents, get out of drugs, prostitution, crime and be great ambassador to this country and role model to others and future families.
The positive thing is that ghetto life teaches one lessons no university can and making the change begins with an individual. It will be great to see how these kids, despite playing barefoot, bare chest and in bare land (no grass and parking lot) for the love of the game, can still spread the message of peace. I have 300+ youths who want to be part of the team and I won’t give up on this dream.
I greatly thank Steve Funk for the blessings, and for his belief we can all make a change in whatever way to make this world a better place and we only live once and the time to make that change is now! It will be great to see him play with the boys someday and, as always, never say die! The spirit and Race4change torch should keep on burning beyond the Rally!