Can you imagine a scenario where you would say to your child “no, you cannot play on your sports team, because it will limit your ability to pursue academics”? Here in the United States, we view the pursuit of athletics as a generally positive influence in our children’s lives. Not only do we view it as positive, but athletics can often open up doors for our children to pursue a higher level of academics through university scholarship. This concept is a rarely grasped notion in Malawi and is just beginning to develop.
Soccer in particular is an international language that bridges cultures, because of this, Chisomo uses soccer programs as one of many strategies to reach youth and their families. Each and every Chisomo scholar athlete not only has an opportunity to develop their own athletic skills, but by participating with Chisomo Idea, they are also are given opportunities to serve their community. They do this through things like leading tutoring and mentoring programs for the younger children in their communities. Showing athletes how participating in sports can actually open up opportunities for them rather than hinder is a cultural shift. There are countless positive results that come from a child being able to participate in sports.
Malawi in particular has a severe shortage of university spots throughout the country. So currently, Chisomo Idea has two scholar athletes that have utilized their athletic gifts to secure themselves a university education here in the United States at Master’s College. These two players have not only begun their education, but have also begun thinking about how they can give back to their community in Malawi. Humphrey Mahowa, our first scholar athlete to participate in education here in the USA, said it best “There are so many people who are hearing my story, but I want to help people hear the stories of all the other people in my community in Malawi. I want my time here to be about that”.
Though our vision is not to continually bring athletes to the United States, we celebrate the stories of these students and understand the value they can play in investing back into their communities with the education they received. Stay tuned for upcoming life stories of scholar athletes who have been impacted by Chisomo Idea.