Who gets those soccer balls you give through the Gifts of Compassion Christmas gift catalog?
Does a gift like that really make a difference? How does a soccer ball make an impact on a child in poverty?
After doing some research, I found this story from Tanzania showing how the gift of a soccer ball made a lasting impact.
Encouraging Talent in Tanzania by Charles Ngowi
Last year, the money given toward soccer balls helped fund not only the purchase of soccer balls for children, but also the second National Children and Youth Talent Festival in Tanzania, November 30 through December 4, 2010.
It was organized by Compassion Tanzania, and the event brought together about 600 children who had earlier been competing at the development center and regional levels in order to qualify for the national event. The children came from the 12 regions of Tanzania where we operate.
In addition to sports equipment, the festival provided opportunities for children and youth to display their God-given talents through competition, while socializing with others in a friendly environment and compassionate manner.
The festival also developed the children’s talents with the possibility of one day making them economically self-supporting using their skills in sports and arts.
The children participated and competed in different kinds of events including soccer, javelin, high jump, singing, drawing, painting, netball, discus and many more. At the end of the event, the top students and overall regional winners were awarded trophies and medals.
One of the Compassion children who attended the festival was Hemedi, 15, who is now in secondary school. He was registered with Compassion in 2004 when he was 9 years old and got involved in sports with the Compassion team when he went to Arusha in 2007 to play in the first Talent Festival.
What has Hemedi gained by being involved with sports?
“Sports help us know each other and socialize well. They also help us be in unity; it’s easy to support one another when you know what someone needs.
Through sports, I have been able to know many people. Sports also help me be fit physically, and by playing different sports it is not easy to be attacked by opportunistic diseases.”
Whether it’s competing at a national level, understanding the value of teamwork, or getting healthy and fit, your gift of a soccer ball is giving life to dreams of Compassion children around the world.