Sports: The Physical and Mental Benefits

At S.A.L.V.E. we find sports to be very powerful in keeping the children we support to be active, healthy and engaged.

Often, there are different ways games can be made very interesting; either we arrange sports galas with different local organisations competing or, the S.A.L.V.E. children compete against each other or the staff team.  

The positive effect of sports

Around Jinja, where there is often little opportunity for children on the streets to play. Yet it is a great joy to help them to have fun and to boost their self-esteem and worth. On the streets, children can often feel alone, with no family, or, they can become part of groups of children who get involved in illegal activities to survive, such as taking drugs, sex work and stealing. They can also feel very segregated by their gender and their lack of hope for their future lives by not getting an education.

Sports games organised by S.A.L.V.E. give children so much enjoyment. Whenever they play, every child wishes to join either directly or indirectly this is either by playing or supporting the other children in the game. It really does unite everyone together. Both boys and girls take part equally, and this allows them to experience gender equality.

The children always show their engagement, energy and vigour whilst involved in the games and it makes for a very interesting watch. The support from all sides and the players’ engagement really shows how much each of them enjoys it. It becomes interesting when the children say to the staff “we will show you the skills we have!” The games can get very competitive as they are seen tightening their defence and also yearning to score so that they don’t disappoint their fellow children who are supporting them. It’s also a good lesson though in team work and that we all win and lose at times in life, but we must stay resilient even if dissapointed.

This game usually keeps the children and the staff physically fit and helps them to relax their minds and stop boredom. Sports help them to get closer with one another and to learn about healthy competitiveness. Engaging with staff as well as other children exposes them to working and engaging with elder people of the community in a positive way. The games can help children to develop more open and trusting relationships with some of the staff too, through teamwork.

Therefore, sports are a key activity for S.A.L.V.E. and they will continue to be because of the powerful impact they have on everyone. The opportunity to compete with other local institutions and organisations allows the children to make wider groups of friends and increase their social and teamwork skills and self esteem.

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