Picture a typical English sports day, imagine the smiling faces of all those competing in an ‘egg and spoon’ race or cheering for their friends at the sidelines. Think about the enjoyment that is drawn from the events that are held annually in any English school. Now replace your image with the idea of never having a sports day, never being given the opportunity to compete against your friends. This is the reality that the youth here in Mzuzu face, not having the facilities or the equipment to partake in an ‘English Sports Day’. Team Lupya over the past eight weeks have been working with three youth groups Ungweru, Dunzuzu and Nhklongo to help strengthen their groups internally. The team have worked hand in hand with Ungweru to organize a sports day for the youth of Mzuzu and most importantly the three youth groups that the team have been working with. Helping to strengthen the relationship that has been developed with the youth groups over the past eight weeks.
UK volunteer Joseph Meadows was in charge of organizing the sports day for the youth of Mzuzu. With the team’s hard work and dedication to the organization of the day the sports day went smoothly and over 200 youth from the youth groups and Mzuzu attended. The main focus of the day was youth empowerment, with separate stalls on nutrition highlighting the importance of a balanced diet for the youth, youth group sign up to increase membership to the groups that the volunteers have been working with and a stall on HIV and AIDS. A nurse from Mzuzu central hospital also attended to answer any questions the youth may have had. These stalls provided the youth with essential information that they otherwise may not have had access to.
Sports and Dancing was also present at the day, with the help of the Youth Alive band that was set up by the youth of Ungweru. There was also football, netball and volleyball tournaments taking place for the youth, with family and friends providing support and enthusiasm. The tournaments ended with a draw between the two youth groups we work with Ndunzuzu and Nkhlongo. At the end of the day the groups presented performances that they had worked on especially for the day, tackling issues such as Alcohol Abuse and HIV and AIDS, they also performed traditional African dances in traditional uniform.
Orchard one of Nduzuzu oldest members said ‘the day provided a lot of fun for the groups and has helped increase membership for the group. The games helped us bond with other youth groups in Mzuzu. The day was well planned and delivered, the live band gave us all lot of entertainment and the nurse from the hospital also answered questions on HIV and AIDS that the youth had’.
Written by ICS volunteer Charlotte Kennedy