In Nairobi, Kenya, solar-powered floodlights have been installed at a local football stadium to allow youngsters to play into the night, keeping them out of trouble.
Located in one of Kenya’s toughest slums, the Mathare Football for Hope Center is run by the Mathare Youth Sports Association, which promotes sports with leadership training, environmental clean-ups, the prevention of aids, and many other causes.
The lights, donated by Yingli Green Energy, a Chinese energy company, allow the center to operate for an additional three hours into the night.
The Mathare Youth Sports Association was selected by the FIFA “20 Centers for 2010” program, which selected 20 African groups to host a “Football for Hope Center” in a disadvantaged community to promote education, public health, and football.
The goal of the Mathare Association was to help a community that struggles with unemployment, illiteracy, crime, and HIV/AIDS. Besides football, the center also exists as a social hub for younger people, offering access to to libraries and computers, as well as workshops to learn life skills. They also provide the only voluntary counseling and testing center for HIV in the area.
“The center has given community members an opportunity to get counseling and also at the same time to get to know their status on HIV,” explained Stephen Muchoki, manager of the Mathare Football for Hope Center.
Robert Chege, a local 21-year-old footballer also remarked that “Being around the center is cool and fun because it’s a learning place as well as a sporting environment.”
The association has already benefited about 20,000 young people since 1987, with FIFA expecting around 50,000 to use the Mathare Football for Hope Center this year.
Photo Credit: farm3.static.flickr.com/2481/3587719538_ddb7a08bd6.jpg user ensign_beedrill