ESTABLISHED to provide practical help for children orphaned by HIV and Aids, Ardbennie-based-Chiedza Child Care Centre continues to make sport an integral part of the curriculum since its formation in 2001.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Over the years, the sports teams from the centre have grown and even confounded watchers by winning some local competitions.
In September this year, the centre’s boys soccer and netball teams emerged gold medal winners of the Out-of-School Group tournament held under the auspices of World Education Inc at Old Hararians Sports Club.
The centre’s soccer teams are also regular participants at the annual Ten Toes Africa (TTA) Safari tournament.
“Sports have been part of the Chiedza curriculum since it was established in 2001. We have three [sports] that we are focusing on at the moment, which are soccer for both boys and girls, netball and volleyball for both sexes. In the past, we have excelled so much in netball as we have won the Youth Education Through Sport (YES) competition at national level a record three times,” Chiedza sports development co-ordinator Daphne Mawunge told The Sports Hub in an interview.
“We have groomed many talented athletes at the centre but the only challenge is that other established academies who have the capacity to help these youngsters get the necessary exposure are sidelining these kids. We have had help from clubs like Maningi who have been helping us to the extent of sending a coach to help with top-notch coaching.
“There are also individuals like Miguel Lemming, Allan Johnson and Gladman Dimbiri, to mention but a few, who make sure Chiedza takes part in the invitational soccer tournament dubbed TTA Africa Safari every year,” Mawunge said.
“When we give these kids the opportunity to play sport, we are saying it is an opportunity for them to socialise in a friendly environment where sports help them to learn from other children. We want them to also develop skills that they can fall back on when academics become a challenge.They get to have the freedom of association with youths of their age
“Opportunities to take part in tournaments cannot happen when they are at home but coming to the centre and training with peers gives them that chance. We are saying as Chiedza, they need to be just children and play, run around like other children who have had better opportunities than them. Basically with sport, opportunities are presented to them to be whatever they want to be,” she added.
One girl from Chiedza who plays netball, Salma Dani Haji, is already doing well with Harare City as well as in the national team colours.
A few other footballers have joined Division One sides.
Mawunge also opened up on the challenges the centre is facing in achieving intended goals in sport.
“Our major challenge is lack of training materials like cones, balls and boots for the football teams. We are also lacking a highly-qualified coach to take on the soccer teams, which is also a major setback for us and if we had one, with the passion these kids have, we could be talking about bigger achievements,” she said.
Chiedza is an organisation which was founded in 2001 by a group of businessmen to cater for vulnerable children from the high density suburbs of Mbare and Sunningdale.
At least 250 children are getting help from the centre.
The centre also looks at the nutritional requirements of the children who are not institutionalised but come from their homes to access services.