Watoto Wasoka — Offering a brighter future for children in Uganda
The boys trot around the pitch in a rather reluctant but uniform mode. They are all soaked in mud after the heavy downpour caught them playing, almost unawares. They decided they would not stop but play on. It was fun; they all loved it. Now the rain has ceased, and as they engage in their customary cool down, the boys seem to be dragging their bodies along with every stride of the jog.
Richard leads the pack, and his leadership over the team goes unprecedentedly unrivalled. He seems to have a soothing air of comfort in his reign as a leader, and his colleagues follow along like a flock with a shepherd.
Coach Patu watches his team from a distance, and he’s convinced of their abilities. Coach Patu is the head coach of this team – Sparta 09 Kampala, a premier project of WATOTO WASOKA Foundation, a local NGO that works with children and soccer in the slums of Uganda.
Over the years, Watoto Wasoka has supported Richard’s dream of becoming a professional footballer. Making the most of every chance to play, Richard earned a string of sports scholarships, proving that football can change a life and open up new opportunities.
Along his journey, Richard has participated in the prestigious Watoto Wasoka Christmas Camp four times, claiming championship victories on each occasion, as well as the inaugraul Watoto Wasoka Slums Derby.
When he started his primary education at Old Kampala school, his family thought his education was beyond affordable, but after juggling several makeshift jobs, they ensured that he and his three elder brothers attained a basic education.
After completing primary school, Richard was then supported through his O-Level education at Kololo High School by Sparta 09 F.C.. In early 2016, when he was ready to begin his A-levels studies, his football talent secured him a scholarship at Old Kampala SSS, and he’s assured of completing his secondary school education at a school his family could not have afforded.
Richard has benefited from health education through the Football4WASH and HIV/AIDS Education through Football programmes under Watoto Wasoka, and he is an active volunteer at the Watoto Wasoka tournaments and programmes.
Richard is just one example of the opportunities that Watoto Wasoka has been able to provide to talented footballers and many others with a passion for the game.
About WATOTO WASOKA
WATOTO WASOKA is a local NGO based in the heart of Kampala. We are a non-profit, community – led youth development organisation, which uses the vibrant passion for football as a vehicle for positive social change in the life of slum children in Uganda. We create purposeful opportunities for play in a safe environment. We aim to change lives of slum children in Uganda through football – one game at a time.
Besides football, we offer health education (WASH / HIV/AIDS), vocational training (ICT), school/homework support and a place to call home and go to either during school holidays or when times are too rough. We also organise regular workshops with external partners on relevant topics such as drug abuse for our kids.
Since 2010 WATOTO WASOKA has facilitated access to primary and secondary education for more than 400 children. This is made possible through working closely with schools, games masters and hundreds of coaches. Each year, we invite dozens of games and sports teachers to our programmes including the Slums Derby and the Christmas Camp. These are able to scout out for the best talented children and offer them scholarships and bursaries at their respective primary and secondary schools.
In addition, we have started programmes to accommodate the children that are not as talented but are passionate about football. This year (2016), we started the Primary Schools League. In our first edition of the league, eight schools offered education bursaries to more than 60 children from the slum around Kampala and Wakiso.
Going forward, we want to scale up our programmes to reach more slum kids with more structured football programmes. We want to work on our organisational development so as to build capacity to match our ambitions. Most importantly, we want to explore more avenues; with both individuals and corporate organisations, to mobilise resources to facilitate our growth and to raise funding for our programmes in general.
REG NO.: Lub/13/476 Namirembe – Bakuli, Kampala – Uganda.
Tel: +256 779 439 540 / +256 757 144 074 / +256 702 726 810
Facebook: Watoto Wasoka | Twitter: @watotowasoka