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The power of sport in combating child poverty

Dynamo warm up

Every child deserves a chance of a bright future. For a child in poverty the stark reality is they may never have that chance. Worldwide an estimated 600 million children live in extreme poverty. For these children it’s not just their physical situation that negatively affects them. Poverty tells a child they are worthless, unloved and forgotten, robbing them of their hopes and dreams. Depriving them of a childhood.

Sport is a fundamental part of many cultures and is intrinsically linked to childhood. Sport has an ability to break down barriers, allowing even the poorest, most vulnerable child a chance to have fun and the ability to regain their childhood. Sport is by no means the single solution to ending child poverty however it can be a powerful tool if used within a wider toolkit.

The benefits of sport reach well beyond physical wellbeing. Through sporting activities children learn skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, fair play, respect and self-esteem. This in turn impacts on their education. Studies show children who participate in physical activities preform better at school and are more engaged, staying in school for longer. In a country such as Ghana where over 35 percent of children drop out before they reach junior secondary this is truly significant.

Student Engagement doesn’t just end in the classroom. Children who play sport are also more likely to be community minded, engage in community activities and go on to be leaders within their communities. During the time KickStart Ghana has been working in the Volta region we have seen children from our programs go on to lead the training sessions and coach younger players. This is all made possible though the commitment from the local communities and volunteers who have dedicated thousands of hours of volunteering and fundraising over the last seven years.

For many children in Ghana and across the world, sport gives them that brief moment to escape from the reality of poverty, giving them an opportunity to be a child again. The power of sport cannot be underestimated and it is why it is at the heart of what we do here at KickStart Ghana.

Written by Emily Laramy.

One comment

  1. Many NGOs use negative imagery to stereotype (and somehow, bring in donations) those in developing nations as products of poverty. Kick Start Ghana is a charity moving beyond these uninformed generalisations of a “third” world — instead, children in Ghana are given the same opportunities as children in Western countries. That’s why the work Kick Start Ghana does is so important.

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