Bringing light to the work of young sports leaders in Zambia
Two SCORE trained sports leaders in Zambia have been nominated to carry the famous Olympic flame at the London 2012 Summer Games after peers were asked to recognise inspirational young leaders in their community.
Sixteen year old Grace Mombi and eighteen year old Gresham Zulu (pictured with his mother) are both involved in the International Inspiration project – UK Sport’s 2012 Olympics international legacy programme, which SCORE is helping to implement in Zambia. As a result of Kicking AIDS Out! Peer Leadership training facilitated by SCORE, young Gresham from rural community Nyimba, has revealed to his friends that he is HIV positive. “Revealing my HIV status to my friends was my highest moment and the biggest difference the programme has made in my life,” says Gresham. “Before I got involved in the programme, I was not eager to reveal my status as I was scared of what people would think about me,” he continues.
Coached as a sportsman by SCORE, Gresham’s confidence grew after participating in life and leadership courses also delivered by SCORE and is now trained to use his capacity as a sports leader to influence and educate players about social issues such as HIV/AIDS – a disease infecting over 13% of the country’s adult tested population.
He is joined in the nominations by Grace from Kabwata, in Lusaka. As a SCORE trained community sports leader she recruits girls into community sports activities. She believes, “It is important for girls in the community to be strong and abstain from activities like drugs and not be subject to violence and abuse.” Sharing the positive impact of sport in the community, Grace says, “Before I started organising activities, girls used to say that they cannot play. One girl from Kabwata is an orphan looking after herself, she used to say that she was nobody, but after introducing her to netball in the zone, she has learned that she can be somebody.” Grace’s relationship with her netballers goes far beyond the sports field as her team use their time at training as a space to address issues they face in their everyday lives.
Although Gresham and Grace are among thousands of other candidates nominated to carry the torch during its relay of Great Britain, the power of sport continues to be recognised and celebrated through young leaders like them who are keeping the spirit of sport alive in their communities. This is a legacy that will be left long after the closing ceremony of next year’s Summer Games.