Ruiru | Kenya
Hearts of Ruiru sports centre is a community-based club that was established in 2012 by Mary Mbaka and whose sole purpose is to use sports as a tool for social change. Hearts of Ruiru currently uses the most loved sport (soccer) as a platform to address the community’s most pressing issues through a whole life-coaching program. These issues include drug and substance abuse (ADSA), juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancies and dropping out of school.
Hearts of Ruiru creates a safe space for children to play, learn life skills and keep away from careless and irresponsible behaviours. Through the soccer program, children can build resilience and reduce antisocial behaviours. Our mentorship programs help in increasing awareness, positive change and thereby addressing the risk factors in our community that may lead to drug use and juvenile delinquency.
Since its initiation, Hearts of Ruiru has had more than 150 players. All the players are from around Ruiru town and its environs with the majority schooling at Mukuyu primary school or living inside the prison staff training college.
Hearts of Ruiru caters for children and youths aged 9-18 years of age, both male and female and especially those from underprivileged and vulnerable homes. These include children from disadvantaged backgrounds, children with absent parents, single parents, orphans and neglected children but still accommodating talented kids who have the heart to play.
The main playing and training facility is at Ruiru Prison as the club also has exchange programs with youths incarcerated at the facility most of whom are from Ruiru constituency. Coaching offered is free and aims at developing talents and deviating children and teenagers from engaging in social crimes.
The age categories in the centre include
- Under 11
- Under 13
- Under 15
- Under 17
- Seniors (18-20)
The centre intends to use as many disciplines as possible with a keen interest in expanding to volleyball, athletics, rugby, basketball, lawn tennis and board games. Moving forward, we want to bring up a generation of professional players who will make all the difference. We want to make Christ known through professional play. Our players will fight the temptation of drug and substance abuse, will stay away from drug and will cultivate a high degree of self-discipline, self-esteem and will have integrity.
Hearts of Ruiru entirely depends on parents and well-wishers to run the program.
Playing for a greater purpose
- To develop the individual talent of each player and further his/ her potential
- To promote self – confidence, self-esteem, respect for self and others, teamwork and self – discipline for each player to make informed decisions in and out of the pitch.
- To use sport-related activities to address ADSA and juvenile delinquency
- To change lives through whole-life coaching, promote community citizenship, good sportsmanship and physical and mental development through healthy, organized competition and teamwork.
To develop a sports complex for different disciplines where players excel in their area of specialization and the community is the greatest benefactor of peace and drug-free society.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Mary Mbaka – president
- Faith John – deputy president
- Brenda Mukena – secretary
- Matthew Majale- treasurer
- Dickens Olande- member
- Teresia Kabubi- member
- Shagila Odachi- member
- Edward Maina – member
- Tabitha Njeri – member
- Mary Kinuthia – member
- Fred Keli- member