Players at Horizons of Hope Project in Oyugis, Kenya, wearing donated gear from Ridgewood Soccer Association families. Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh (top left) is the director of the program. Photo: Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh
The closet. The mud room. The garage.
In Ridgewood, those are the places you’re likely to find piles of soccer gear the kids no longer use. Maybe the cleats don’t fit or the ball is too small, but they still have a few goals yet to be scored. Not in the Village of Ridgewood, perhaps, but in villages as far away as Oyugis, Kenya. That’s where soccer gear donations made by RSA families often arrive, after being collected by SEND, a local soccer charity based in Ridgewood.
Photo: Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh
Soccer is the world’s game, of course, so kids in Oyugis love to play.
At the Horizons of Hope Project, a center that serves orphans and destitute children in Oyugis, Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh is the director. Bonyoh said he uses soccer, “as a sport to create social change by focusing on the physical, mental and psychological aspect of their development.” The center helps 87 children between the age of 12 and 18.
Teams in donated RSA uniforms get ready for their game in Oyugis, Kenya. Photo: Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh
Horizons of Hope received donated RSA gear from SEND last year, which the kids proudly wear during their training and games. “The kids are always happy and thankful for the donations,” Bonyoh said. “The donated gear positively impacts the kids physically and socially, as they learn to share. It enhances their playing time and brings them together so they avoid social vices like drugs, peer pressure and dropping out of school.”
The kids at Horizons of Hope Project proudly display their donated RSA gear. Photo: Nikko Ogweno Bonyoh
Bonyoh said that the center is always in need of additional gear, such as balls, jerseys, shorts, sneakers, cleats, air pumps (with needles) and coaching gear. So, as you register your children for RSA’s fall 2014 season, please look around the house for items that your kids no longer use. To locate a SEND drop-off point, click here.