Search

STORIES FROM KENYA

The case for building the Mugunda Training and Sports Center



David Kimaru Wachuka is 21. He and his two brothers were raised by their single mother in the Mugunda Ward in rural Kenya. Since the age of 10, David has trained tirelessly in pursuit of his football dreams. His first ball was made out of paper, and that memory has served him well, fueling his desire to achieve greatness in this passionate football country.


At the age of 11 his primary school teacher identified his talents and assigned him to the school team. David went on to win 3 awards for best player. Later he joined the 18 and under Saint Regina team in the Catholic league competition and again was awarded the best footballer certificate. After high school he represented the county in regional competitions and the awards continued to mount. When his school years were over, he went on to form the Mutito Regional Youth Football Sports Club. Every evening, young people gather at a local school (when the gate is not locked) to practice. David serves as the team captain and leader as they look to arrange games against other teams in the region.


Unfortunately, David was unable to continue to develop his talents in a collegiate sports program because his academic performance did not qualify him for further advancement in the rigid Kenyan academic system. David is not alone. Many talented young people find their growth stunted by an academic system that only views achievement through a very narrow lens. As a result, David, and many others like him, are confronted with the reality of insufficient funds, facilities and, in this case, coaches or mentors to nurture talents that would benefit schools, counties and even a country. This is not a story that just concerns sports. This is a story about music, dance, art and the many other talents that are so central to the development of a place and its people.   


David now does odd jobs trying to make a living. Think of how things might have been different if he had access to a facility with equipment and coaches. Would his life have been changed if he had mentors to help guide him through his academic years? And perhaps, if he was still not able to achieve the scores necessary for academic advancement, might access to tutors, mentors and coaches have helped him develop the confidence, skills and resilience to create a meaningful life with purpose and promise?


The goal of the Mugunda Training and Sports Center is to develop the whole child. We intend to use sports as an incentive, and point of access, to education, healthcare, job training and cultural connection to change both the prospects of the youth of Mugunda Ward and the villages that are anxious to support them.