Friday, July 22, 2011

Spotlight: Precious

From Nasarawa State, Nigeria comes Precious, an outspoken 12 year old girl from a family of seven. Precious often felt very uncomfortable at school and at the risk of being bullied by her peers and seniors because she was smaller than them. Unfortunately she missed out on the first selection to become a Goal Champion, but when other girls could not get parental consent, Precious’s resolve and determination shone through.

She told the school Goal Coordinator, Mr. Mayaki: “Sir give me my own consent form as my father will support me. Just tell me what the programme is all about and I’ll promise him I’ll put in ma best”. Unsurprisingly her consent form was signed!

Precious has proven herself to be ambitious and driven. When presented with paper or writing material she will immediately make designs and drawings. When sessions were taken on self identity, leadership and academic excellence she stood up and said: “My role model is my father and I want to be an artist or architect like my father”.

Mr. Mayaki also identified Precious as one of the girls Goal has positively influenced in her conducts. During the first quiz competition she asked: “where are the journalists I want them to interview me- I need to speak on Goal!”

Precious’s challenges in life were solved from the outset of Goal in the school. She has learnt a lot of life skills and claims: “now that I know how to better communicate and handle disagreements, it won’t lead to conflicts and I will get into lesser troubles”. She will be writing her Junior Certificate Exams next year and hopes to go into sciences to enable her achieve her dreams. Good luck Precious!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Goal Girls Spotlight: Changes in Chongqing

Li Qian, student at Yuzhong Vocational Education Institute, Chongqing, China

I came from a remote rural area in China to study in Chongqing. I had to leave for Chongqing because I failed the entrance examination for senior middle school due to my poor Mandarin. I have always had low self-esteem and refused to communicate with others. In their eyes, I was different.

When I participated in the Goal Activities, the atmosphere had a strong impact on me. I actively expressed my own opinions and experiences with other participants and the leader. My ability to communicate has improved and now I am an active student; even others are seeing the change! I am very happy to have this change. Although my Mandarin is still poor, I believe that it will progress as long as I make an effort. I will take every opportunity to practice and to talk, and I firmly believe that I will succeed.

I have also learnt a lot on female physiology and pregnancy, such as the girl's menstrual cycle and sexual health. This knowledge is very useful for girls to protect themselves. I remembered when I experienced my first menstrual period; I was scared so I secretly told my mom. She only told me how to deal with it but not why it happened. Also I was afraid my brother would find out. Before the training, I was even embarrassed to buy sanitary napkins in the supermarket, especially if the shop assistant was male. After participating in Goal activites, I now know it is the girl's normal physiological response. We have grown up so we should have the right attitude and approach to deal with these things.

Additionally, I want to be one member of the Goal Champion team. I will work hard to learn this curriculum and these activities, and strive to pass the assessment to be a leader.

Monday, July 18, 2011

We're honoured :)

It's no secret that we love Beyond Sport in these parts. We've even found new and soon-to-be partners through their network (more on that later). So we were tickled pink to find out we had been shortlisted for the 2011 Beyond Sport Award for Corporate of the Year.

We'll find out if we've won at this year's summit in December in South Africa. In the meantime though, check out our application and feel free to comment!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome to Mpape

Nestled on the rocky hills of Abuja sits a town called Mpape, an underdeveloped satellite settlement, heavily populated by the native Gbagi tribe.

Due to exorbitant house rental prices many low income earners, often uneducated farmers, opt to live in the more affordable underdeveloped communities where education is highly undervalued. Although they do enrol their children in public school, since they are either free or highly subsidised, there is often little or no supervision and teachers are so stretched that it’s hard to spend a decent amount of time with them.

It is this very environment the Youth Empowerment Foundation discovered at Junior Secondary School Mpape. Determined to make a difference, Goal was implemented at the school and produced excellent results. On introducing the programme they faced a few constraints but these were soon overcome. The principle, Mrs Kuburat Yabasi, believed Goal to be hugely beneficial to the school; “The children are getting better by the day in terms of their leadership characters. They organise themselves to hold meetings, develop programs and ideas among themselves”.

As part of the intervention programme the Goal champions implemented their ‘service learning project’ which focuses on academic excellence, peer pressure and HIV/AIDS and girl child education. The programme was a huge success and attended by over 100 participants! In his closing remarks, the vice Principal, Mr. Crown Olagoke, stated: “In the history of JSS Mpape, and since my transfer to this school over five years ago, students have never organised and coordinated a programme on their own without the input of teachers or adults, and with this I know Goal indeed has a goal”.

Photo: Goal girls graduating from the school

Monday, July 11, 2011

Female warriors of futeball

Meet the Guerreiras or 'female warriors' of Brazil football.

The Guerreira project started last September and is a documentary of 40 female footballers who play for the Brazilian club Santos F.C.

At the start:
"These female players have not only represented a threat to Brazilian masculinity, but have also been perceived as encroaching in a disgraceful manner on one of the nation’s primary sources of pride and collective identity."

Only very recently are attitudes beginning to change. You could view this as a small step towards gendre equality because these female warriors are getting noticed and stadiums are beginning to fill up. However, with this increasing publicity comes another pressure. Image. These players are expected to wear "slim-fit uniforms, grow their hair long, wear make-up on the pitch, and put skirts on after the game." It seems that there's still a very long way to go.

Stay updated with the latest project news.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spotlight: Juliet

Before signing up to the Goal programme in Nigeria, 10 year old Juliet was very shy. Now, she’s become a lot more confident. She’s already respected by all the Goal girls- even those who are older than herself. She is a natural leader and is great at coordinating football sessions as well as encouraging other Goal girls to arrive at the life skills training on time.

When asked to get permission from her parents to continue Goal in the school holidays, Juliet replied that this would not be a problem as her parents are great supporters of the programme.

Her parents have noticed that since enrolling in Goal, Juliet has changed. In her own words: “I’m now less offensive” towards others. They encourage their daughter to participate in as many Goal sessions as possible. Juliet has learnt not only how to avoid conflicts but also how important this life skill is.

Juliet is ambitious and determined when it comes to her future plans:
"My father is a driver for one of the private schools in the neighbourhood and my mother is a full housewife, I don’t in anyway want to be like my mother. I want to be a medical doctor and nothing will stop me in achieving my dream".