The youth handball movement

“We believe that sports with its team spirit and role models can be used to get in contact with children and young people in need of help and support. Handball has been a natural choice, considering we already have knowledge and a network within the sport,” says Anders Nissen, CEO of Pandox.

In the town of Nyeri, Kenya, Pandox established the Youth Handball Movement in 2011 in cooperation with the Kenyan handball club Mount Kenya Sports Group (MSG). The objective is to provide children and young people with purposeful leisure time through sports and, in particular, handball training. Sports is a good way to establish contact with children and young adults and the project also includes a yearly training camp where Swedish coaches offer teachers and children the opportunity to learn about team spirit, health care, injury prevention and, not least, more about handball tactics and techniques.

A lot has happened since the project started 4 years ago. The number of club members has increased from 400 to 1,200 children from the age of 11 and upwards (with an equal number of boys and girls), while the MSG arranged tournament “Partille Cup Kenya Trophy”, has grown into the largest event in Kenya with over 120 participating teams from all over the country. MSG has also developed a structured league system as well as a scholarship program, where poor children and youth are given the possibility to receive clothes, school supplies, medicine, etc. Most important though, is that the youth get to have fun together and that they feel a sense of belonging; something which is incredibly important, particularly for the many children that have grown up in poverty in the city’s slum areas.

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Pandox also supports the fair-trade company Freeset in Calcutta. The company offers employment to women who have been drawn into prostitution in Sonogacchi, Calcutta’s largest and most notorious area for sex trafficking. In this area, more than 10,000 women are forced into prostitution every day. The women are mainly from Bangladesh, Nepal, or poor rural areas in India. Many of them have fallen victim to trafficking, while others have no other choice due to extreme poverty.

Freeset gives them the opportunity to learn how to sew and make cases, cloth bags and t-shirts, which are then sold internationally to finance the project. The women are also given the opportunity to learn how to read and write.

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