Participation in sport is of critical importance to the wellbeing of young people. In fact, the Canadian Institute of Health Research states that, “research consistently shows that participating in sport and exercise significantly improves health and wellbeing across three interconnected domains: physical, psychological and social”.
For youth in North and South Kivu Provinces of the DRC, where civil war, extreme poverty, coordinated sexual violence and lack of psychosocial programs have caused tremendous suffering, sport is a lifeline. It not only improves the physical, mental and social health of individuals, but it is an excellent way to bring people together to work towards a common goal, show respect for others and share space and equipment. All of these behaviours are crucial to peace-building processes and are critical for children to learn in a place where peace is so hard to establish.
Soccer and volleyball are the most popular sports in the DRC, where many families have a daily income of less than $1.25 a day. ECAAIR is therefore, providing soccer and volleyball uniforms and equipment to schools in North and South Kivu so that young people can experience the pride and self-esteem that comes from representing their school in sport, while improving their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Currently, most children play soccer with homemade balls and no kit whatsoever.
The United Nations Report on the International Year of Sport and Physical Education highlighted the benefits that sport can bring in building national identity, something that the DRC is in great need of. A study from Liberia identifies soccer as, “a ‘neutral’ pursuit - a common cultural property unspoiled by war”. During the civil conflict in that country, soccer tournaments were considered the only occasions that produced a sense of national unity.
We want to help bring peace to the DRC, while improving the overall health of the children there. Therefore, we are asking Canadians to support individuals or teams in the DRC by sponsoring their soccer or volleyball kit through a donation to the Play for Peace Fund.
Here is what your donation provides:
$1,075 sponsors a soccer team – kit (jerseys, shorts, socks and shoes) for 22 players, plus two balls
$530 sponsors a volleyball team – kit (jerseys, shorts, socks and shoes) for 12 players, plus two balls
$50 sponsors one soccer player kit (jersey, shorts, socks and shoes)
$45 sponsors one volleyball player kit (jersey, shorts, socks and shoes)
$30 provides one pair of soccer shoes
$25 provides one pair of volleyball shoes
$20 provides one pair of shorts and a jersey for either soccer or volleyball, or a ball
(If you wish your designate your donation to one of the two sports (soccer or volleyball), please indicate this by including a message with your donation.)
If you would prefer to donate offline, you can make a cheque out to "East and Central African Association for Indigenous Rights", place "Play for Peace" in the memo section and send your cheque to ECAAIR, 390 King St., Suite 211, Fredericton, NB, Canada. E3B 1E3.