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Celebrating Education for All with Sport in Action for International Day of The African Child

The Day of The African Child was instituted in 1991 in memory of the 16th June 1976 student uprising in Soweto. This year’s theme is particularly important, as we celebrate education for all children in Africa. 48 years ago, thousands of brave and courageous students marched to protest the poor-quality education they received.

Inspiring a generation, their sacrifice has not been in vain.

Sport in Action, alongside many other NGOs working towards equal rights for all, are creating a safe space for African children to receive the teaching they deserve. Using sport as a tool for change, to enhance the lives of others in the community, they deliver imperative life skill sessions at Hub Sites to help motivate and challenge the younger generation.

On Saturday 15th June group 1 of the 2024 Volunteer Zambia cohort were invited to attend a FIFA Foundation football tournament hosted by Sport in Action. The event saw over 230 children arriving early to take part in some educational talks. Sport in Action aimed to cover a variety of topics to help inform and educate, this covered a range of topics from Mental Health to Gender Based Violence. The tournament highlighted the important role that sport, and recreational activity can play in education.

Since its inception in 1998, Sport in Action have worked towards a brighter future, partnered with Volunteer Zambia over 30 volunteers will be spending their summer learning from Zambian coaches and sharing some of their own knowledge too.

Alex from Cardiff Metropolitan University summed up the day, “It is amazing to see the work that Sport in Action are doing to make a change, the children listen and are happy to be there. Even as volunteers we are learning from the life skills sessions and find it so heart-warming to spend time in this environment”.

Monica, National Hub Site Coordinator for Sport in Action, explains, “It is rare to record teen pregnancies in those who participate in life skills or Girls in Action sessions as they learn how to take care of themselves and protect themselves. We see behaviour changes; they won’t take drugs and participate in alcohol or substance abuse. Often the opportunity to speak about these topics, with their families at home, is not an option so this is the only place they can talk about it.”

It is heartwarming to see that through sport, Sport in Action are giving children the opportunity to feel heard, to access education and provide a safe space.

On this day we commemorate all the amazing work organisations do to provide essential teaching and the hundreds of students who lost their lives protesting for a better world, where all African children receive the education they are entitled to.

Sandy Coull