“The thing about dreams, there is no limit to where they can take you. With hard work, focus, and determination, anything is possible.”
Lupita Nyongo (Harriet) from Disney’s Queen of Katwe movie.
If you asked any Sports Outreach (SO) staff member, parent, teacher, or student what the greatest need was in order to improve their lives, the answer would all be the same—EDUCATION! Certainly, food, water, and shelter are necessities, but when children dream of a better life they see themselves becoming doctors, engineers, teachers, or other contributing society members. With God’s help, these dreams can only be realized through an education, and while many of you faithfully support SO’s education initiatives, the need persists. In fact, the need is growing—both financially, and numerically. Many children who began school a decade ago are now seeking secondary, university, or vocational education, which is considerably more expensive than primary school. Hundreds more await the opportunity to start school, if only they could afford tuition and fees.
Nelson Mandela, 20th-century South African apartheid revolutionary and political leader, once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This maxim is exemplified in Katwe Slum (Kampala, Uganda) where education has changed the trajectory of many children’s lives. Martin Musiime was 14 when he was introduced to the SOM Chess Academy by Richard and Brian (two of the chess Pioneers) in 2009. Martin shares that “through SOM programs I was able to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior through the preaching and sharing from coaches. God has changed my life from being self-centered to Christ-centered.” With help from SO, Martin has completed college and now teaches chess at the Academy, traveling to introduce the game—and its life principles—to students in other parts of Uganda.
Education is crucial, and fortunately, many of the original chess Pioneers have been able to go to school. While the ministry model of SO includes training and discipleship (which includes education), it doesn’t stop there! The end goal is to deploy these former players to be the next generation of coaches, and we are happy to say that this is happening around SO’s various ministry sites.
Fatima Martell became acquainted with SO through an ESL course being taught in Nuevo Cuscatlán, El Salvador in 2012. Humberto Alférez, SO’s El Salvador Director, met Fatima during this time and though she is “very shy and reserved,” her English has blossomed and she is now helping with the translation of EmpowerME sponsorship letters and with the handcrafts program on Saturday mornings. She dreams of going to university, but does not have the money to do so.
The vision of SO to provide primary, secondary, collegiate, or vocational education, is being realized. In terms of infrastructure, initiatives (some completed, some not) such as the Morgan Pre-School and the Polytechnic School Koro Farm in Gulu, Uganda), the vocational building at Katwe, the addition of floors to the El Salvador Ministry Center, and the expansion of the R. Carey Brenton School (Ometepec, Mexico), are all helping to lay the groundwork for educating future coaches and leaders. But in the world of education, value is not measured in how many schools are built, nor necessarily in how many children attend. That is why at SO education doesn’t stop at book learning. In Isaiah 1:17, God exhorts us to “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” That is the prayer for any and all individuals—players or coaches—that walk on or off the fields of Sports Outreach. If you would like to be a part of seeing a life transformed through education, Sports Outreach is suggesting a monthly donation of $60, which represents an average of tuition and fees, and varies greatly depending on the level and location of the school. Helping even one child to realize the dream of going to school has the potential to change the world!
Messiah College (AROMA) Team – Uganda, May/June 2019
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