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Sep '14 25

Baseball firsts for East African refugees

By PlayGlobal, www.play-global.org

YARID (Young African Refugees for Integral Development) is a refugee organization working in Uganda. They provide education and support to refugee children and youth ages 8-25 who have fled from conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

YARID brought a group of kids to learn baseball from Pat Doyle and Al Herback in Kampala, Uganda in July. We asked Christian Ndagano, YARID Sports Program Manager, to tell us about their experience of playing baseball for the first time.

They were very excited to be the first refugees to learn baseball and especially as it was not so common in Uganda, they considered themselves unique comparing to those who play football (soccer) or other known games. They were very happy to see people watching them train and asking questions about this sport which is still new for many people. Furthermore, they are very happy to be the first refugees to play baseball in East Africa. In the eastern part of Congo, where most of them are from, no one knows about baseball.

Baseball is very important for them because it will help them learn new skills, to be focused and disciplined. The other reason but not least is as other games we know that it’s going to help in keeping them busy as most of them don’t have access education (fight idleness among them).

And more about YARID’s sports program:

The sport program for children plays a significant role in the lives of refugee children, some of whom are orphans, helps them in improving their physical, emotional, and social development. Most of these children are not enrolled in formal schooling and many have never attended school because of the circumstances surrounding their displacement.

Sport activities have improved the ability of refugees to take direction, focus, and learn. The team integrates sport skills with life skills to improve the children’s chances of survival. Furthermore, the coaches provide counseling to participants and advice about their future.

Read more at: www.yarid.org

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