Sports can be a life-changing practice in someone’s life, and this is also the case among the youths of Malkadida and Dollo Ado Refugee Camps in Southern Ethiopia (frontier with Somalia) thanks to JRS sports program. But, how so? You might ask.
The JRS team in Dollo has been implementing the so called Youth Development Program for the last years. In various multi-purpose halls around the camps, we organize tournaments, trainings, games… and many other activities related with sports engaging children and youth from the refugee community.
But, why sports?
- Sports mean team work and spirit of collaboration , therefore it serves as a reconciliation and peace building exercise for the youths.
- Sports mean discipline, thus teaching youths to have self-control and a communitarian conduct,
- Sports imply belonging and community, enhancing the relations among the actors and members in the community,
- Sports imply self-esteem and recognition from the community, helping the feeling of pride and positiveness,
- Sports are physical activity, what helps stress-release and to overcome trauma from previous experiences,
And sports imply being out of the street, of the bush. And that is key.
By enrolling the youths is regular physical and team activities, we have seen a reduction in abuses and sexual harassment to girls and women, lower use and abuse of drugs as Mira/Katt (chewing leave with exciting effects, similar to coke leave, a legal substance in the country, and extremely extended among men), alcohol or tobacco, reduction of criminality levels among the youngest population, and an improvement in the relations among youths in the camps.
This program in Dollo and Malkadida is changing the life of young boys and girls in the camp. And JRS is committed to continue with it ss long as required.