SHAMAS: Using rugby to impart life skills in Eastlands
BY NAIROBI NEWS REPORTER
Rugby, considered by many Kenyans an elite sport, is now finding its way in lower middle class and lower class societies of Nairobi, Kenya.
Shamas Rugby Foundation is a Sport for Development program that uses the sport of rugby and its values to teach Life Skills Education to boys and girls living in disadvantaged areas in Kenya. The foundation held its very first Life Skills Rugby clinic for boys and girls of ages 19 and below at Ofafa Jericho High School in Nairobi’s Eastland’s area which began on Monday 25th April and will run through Saturday 30th April.
The young men and women drawn from all over Nairobi County with major estates being Jericho, Makadara, Maringo, Uhuru, Mathare, Huruma, Kariobangi,Korogocho and kayole among others also had an intensive life skills training program before taking to the pitch for the actual game.
The clinics which begins at 7:30 am, has the boys and girls take to class room sessions before breakfast which is served at 10:00am. After that they enjoy another two hour session before going for lunch. There after they take to the rugby pitch where different coaches take them through rugby drills.
Mary Musieka, Eastlands head coach and also a member of the national women’s side who is now preparing for the summer Olympics in Rio spoke highly of the girls at the six day clinic held at the heart of Eastland’s. “This is an area commonly known for mostly great boxers and footballers. By offering the community an alternative sport, we are discovering also other talents like in the case of rugby that we have to nurture. I would like to call upon the Kenya Rugby Union and the ministry of sports at large to take notice of our efforts and follow suit country wide.” The Kenya Harlequins Scram Half said.
Edoardo De Paoli, the Shamas Rugby Foundation CEO, hailed the ongoing clinic as a success: “ Rugby is such a fantastic sport that can be used by any community especially in sub-Saharan Africa to develop young men andwomen into responsible citizens. This clinic in Eastland’s has 120 boys and girls, we are also running another one concurrently at Kibra, Silver Springs Secondary school where we have 130 young men and women attending.”
The coaches at Shamas are also active players. They are led by Mary Musieka, scrum half Kenya Harlequins and Kenya Lionesses, Philadelphia Orlando (KCB and Kenya Lionesses) Janet Owino (Kenya Harlequins and Kenya Lionesses), and Roseline Amondi (Kenya Harlequins).
The men are led by Mwamba RFC star Brad Owako, Stephen Wakaya, Vincent Onyala (both from KCB RFC), Washington Okello from Kenya Harlequins. The others are Kennedy Oduor and Randy Mwenje.
Shamas Rugby Foundation was set up by Azim Deen, a Kenyan businessman, in June 2012. Shamas Rugby Foundation is a Sport for Development program that uses the sport of rugby and its values to teach Life Skills Education to boys and girls living in disadvantaged areas in Kenya.