Boys playing games on a rope climbing frame
Boys playing, Philippines

The importance of sports and play

Exercise is an important part of the daily life of the children in our care at school. Whether it be running, or playing team sports, creating their own games or just dancing, all the children love to take part in exercise to keep fit and healthy and to build strength.

Life in poverty is harsh and when our children come to us they are suffering the ill effects of their early lives. Many are malnourished and underdeveloped for their age.  They may have suffered neglect and abuse, leading to problems with mental health, low self-confidence and lack of  self-esteem. They often struggle to trust, to make new friendship bonds and form lasting relationships.

Their sports and activities forms a vital part of their growth and development.


Many girls running outside wearing sports kit
Girls running at school, Tegucigalpa

The chance to take part

The freedom and support they receive at school to take part in all sports and outdoor activities is a joy and a luxury for them. The boys and girls make the most of every opportunity and it immediately improves their mental and physical health and overall wellbeing.

The children take part in a wide range of team and individual sports and activities like athletics, football, basketball, handball, hockey and spend time everyday developing their passion and skills for the widest range of sports available to them.

Shortage of funds for equipment does not deter the children from their activities and they will often improvise with whatever materials are available or make their own. For instance the boys in the Philippines make their own table tennis bats in carpentry class and the girls in Tanzania initially used the building’s discarded scaffolding poles for basketball hoops.

Two girls in green and yellow football kit standing in a field in Tanzania
Nyasagati (left) and Alistidia (right) at the Tanzania National Football Competition

Growing strong, making friends, building confidence,

In their daily activities and sports they are making new friends and forming lasting relationships. They are also building confidence and this helps them with learning in the classroom. With regular opportunities to play sports and games and live an active life, the children begin to recover from their difficult early start and flourish in our care.

With confidence comes ambition and all the children become highly competitive in their sports endeavours.

Throughout all the schools, the boys and girls are equally keen to challenge themselves and compete not just locally, but regionally, nationally and sometimes internationally. And they achieve enormous success.

This July, some of our newest girls at school in Tanzania were invited to compete with Tanzania’s national football team; in October the boys at Zona 6 Guatemala became the National Champions in Handball and the girls at school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras got first place in the Chalato Ucles Tournament.

The chance to play sports and stay fit and well in our care allows the poorest children the joy of a proper childhood and a brighter, healthier future.