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Sporting chance for slum kids

China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 08:07

China-sponsored school provides opportunity to Kenya students

NAIROBI - Stacy Awuor developed a love for soccer at a tender age while growing up in Nairobi's Mathare slums, where poverty and other social problems have always conspired to deny youngsters a chance to realize their dreams.

But the 16-year-old student at MCEDO Beijing school, whose construction was financed by Chinese firms, has defied cultural stereotypes and financial hardships to develop her sporting prowess and impress her peers.

Awuor said that she looked forward to becoming a soccer star and hopefully get recruited by the elite clubs in Europe or Asia.

"I'm currently a decorated midfielder in our school's soccer club and hope that one day the elite clubs overseas will recognize my talent and recruit me," said Awuor.

She was born in Mathare slums and was among the pioneer students at MCEDO Beijing school that has provided disadvantaged children an opportunity to nurture their academic and sporting talents.

Awuor has witnessed the learning facility evolve from a makeshift structure located in the middle of a shanty village to a gleaming modern school thanks to benevolence of Chinese enterprises in Kenya.

"When I enrolled in this school several years ago, its classrooms made of iron sheet were a nightmare when extreme weather events hit town. The classes were dark, humid and unhygienic on many occasions," said Awuor.

She hailed the contribution of Chinese firms toward modernization of a learning facility that has provided her with a platform to accomplish a significant academic and sporting feat.

"The new classrooms constructed by Chinese donors have inspired us to study harder. The Chinese have also donated books and sporting kit that have transformed our lives," said Awuor.

More than two thousand children from poor families in Mathare slums have passed through MCEDO Beijing school where they have acquired lifelong skills.

Both the Chinese embassy and enterprises based in Kenya have in the last decade donated money, learning materials and sporting kit to help upgrade MCEDO Beijing school.

Kiage said upgraded classrooms have inspired hundreds of Mathare slum children to enroll in the China sponsored learning facility that has been producing academic and sporting giants.

Irene Mwende, a 12-year-old pupil who is an admired striker in MCEDO Beijing school's all girls soccer team, said the learning facility has motivated her to study hard while developing her sporting talent on the side.

"I would like one day to become an international soccer great and mentor children from poor families in this neighborhood," said Mwende.


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