This Giving Tuesday (December 3rd,) some of the funds that are raised will be set aside to create a scholarship fund for players who graduate from our program and pursue higher education or vocational training. Below are the stories of two of our graduates who have stayed involved with Kids Play as Jr. Coaches.

Jr. Coach Solange

Solange is 20 years old, and joined Kids Play Rwanda in 2012 before coming a Jr. Coach after she graduated from our program. Solange is the 3rd of 6 daughters in her family in the rural village of Muganza near our program site in Gatagara, Rwanda. Because there are so many kids in her family, life was difficult but her father tried to give all the girls what he could, like school materials, food and shelter. Solange would love to go to college. In May, 2019, she helped chaperone an All Girls United Camp field trip to Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali and was inspired by the other young women she met who were also from rural areas and is determined to try to get in and attend their program. The Institute focuses on entrepreneurship and hospitality management through their 2-year certificate program.

Solange would like to study business management and entrepreneurship, because as a girl from the village (rural area), she would like to boost the local economy by creating jobs through modernizing the local farming sector and mobilizing youth to use modern technology. Solange says, “I will study with the intention of helping those who finish high school and do not have the opportunity to continue at the university, because they are from poor families, like me.”

KPI’s Impact on Solange: Before coming to KPI, I was a girl who didn’t like to talk, or to hang out with others. I was very quiet at school, at home and everywhere I was. I could not even answer the teacher’s questions in class. There were times when no one could answer the teacher’s questions in class, and my fear kept me from giving the correct answer when I knew it. I lived that life for a long time, even when I got into KPI. The coaches worked hard making me feel comfortable giving the answers in my own small voice. They accepted my silence but tried very hard to make me change and I started to give answers aloud. I really appreciate my coaches. They made me feel capable and confident in everything I was doing. We learned a lot in Let’s Play Fair and All Girls United, like using our voices to speak out and feeling as capable in sports or anything else as boys. I started using my voice to express my feelings and ideas out loud. I have changed so much at school that I began to answer teachers’ questions and helping those who were as silent as me before. My classmates enjoyed my change and made me their school leader and clubs leader of our school.

As a Jr. coach, I continue to learn more about coaching in KPI, I know how much it takes. I am learning to be a role model and a coach who is also an educator. First, I was happy to help those who are silent, who don’t like to talk out loud like I was before, those with different problems and so on. I would like to continue to do my all, to learn and teach others, in order to be able to change the mentality of our people about gender equity.”

Jr. Coach Eliezel

Eliezel is 20 years old, the fourth child out of 6 kids in his family of simple farmers from Mwanabiri Village. Eliezel joined Kids Play in 2013 and considered himself a bad student when he started participating in the Let’s Play Fair Program. But at Kids Play, the coaches and program coordinators encouraged him, telling him that if he did well in school, there would be a greater possibility to improve his life. He studied hard and became the top male student in his class and passed the National exams. Eliezel was recently accepted to the University of Rwanda and given the opportunity to take out a loan to continue his studies. He wants to study education, specifically geography and economics because he wants to teach rural kids about their land and how if they use the land properly, they can make real economic progress. His intention after school is to help others to achieve their goals.

KPI’s Impact on Eliezel: “Before joining KPI, I knew nothing about gender equity. I knew that girls had their own tasks at home like doing laundry, dishes, cooking, leaning, etc and that boys had their own such as fetching water, finding firewood, taking care of cows, etc. I didn’t know that girls could play any games with boys and I considered girls to be very weak.

When I joined KPI, I began to understand that a girl has the same abilities as a boy. Through learning KPI Fair Play Skills, especially Opportunity, I understood that a girl or woman, has the same capabilities as boys or men. I had to change my mentality, my habits and my behaviors and take full responsibility for helping girls and boys to live together in respect. When boys and girls are given the same opportunity, they all help build a good society that does not have any discrimination.

As a Jr. coach, I am trying to learn how to be a role model for kids in KPI and in the community. I want to learn more so I can share with other kids how to offer opportunity to others, especially to both boys and girls.

By donating this Giving Tuesday, you can help us ensure future educational and career opportunities for some of our most promising players. If you’re interested in helping shape the future leaders of Rwanda, you can donate here today!