To mark the start of the summer vacations in Kenya, PlayHandball Kenya (PHKE) invited children and young people from our partner organizations to a ten-day vacation camp in Suswa. From November 20 to December 1, they played handball, separated trash, danced and much more. 101 players between the ages of 10 and 17 from our partner organizations were warmly welcomed at the Ilkeek Aare Primary School in Suswa, Narok. Angaza Youth Development Organization in Thika, Pendo Amani Youth Organization in Juja, Empower Girls Plus in Kisumu, Githunguri Primary School in Machakos, St. John Centre in Korogocho and our host Ilkeek Aare Primary School in Suswa participated in the first camp of this kind organised by PHKE.
In addition to handball training, the program included sessions on team building, creativity through dance, music and art, environmental knowledge and cultural experiences. “After breakfast, we always started with a morning handball training session in which we covered the different positions and attacking play as well as defensive behavior,” reports Jule, who is currently supporting our team in Machakos as a weltwärts volunteer for a year.
Our partner organizations look after children and young people in some of the most underserved and poor communities in Kenya. Therefore, the camp was a unique opportunity for many participants to get out of their community for the first time and interact with young people from other regions and ethnic groups.
In order to strengthen the sense of community and promote cross-regional exchange, the participants were divided into mixed groups. In their newly formed teams, they played handball, came up with names and emblems for their team and completed assigned tasks such as trash collection campaigns and a team song together. Cultural experiences were also part of the program, such as a four-hour hike with a Maasai teacher. He shared exciting stories and gave an insight into the Maasai culture. Despite the full program, the children still had plenty of energy in the evening, so the evening was spent watching a film, playing games together, listening to music or making art.
A special non-handball highlight was the drawing lesson given by guest artist Cassandra from the USA, who is part of the “mile 46” art project, which creates murals in Maasai villages. She was so impressed by the artistic skills of our young people that she invited PHKE to put forward selected participants for the 2024 art exchange camp.
Not only the players but also the coaches were able to gain many new experiences and make new friends during the eleven days. For our volunteers, Jule and Sebastian, the handball camp was one of the highlights in Kenya and they are very grateful for their time in Narok. Brian, our youth coach in Machakos, sums up the camp: “As the sun sets over the Mara, PlayHandball Kenya’s commitment to youth development through sports echoes a promising future where sports, arts and culture dance hand in hand, much like the Maasai in their ancestral land.”
If you want to know more, you can also read the detailed report by Brian, our Junior Coach, and Carol and learn more about the summer camp in Narok.