The Basketball Artists School (BAS) in Katutura has taken it upon itself through the leadership of Ramah Mumba to address social issues which learners face.
This is done by incorporating sport, which ultimately allows them to showcase their talent.
Mumba, who is the director of BAS, told Youth Corner that he has been part of the programme and directing it. He has come across learners who have been through a lot but initially underestimated the impact that social issues will have on them.
“We have seen issues such as absent fathers, some of them have never seen their fathers or mothers. These are kids who were born and given to someone else to nurture, some get mistreated but when they come here, you don’t get to see it,” reflected Mumba.
He said: “Some are sexually abused, it takes a while for them to be open but it does happen and then there is alcohol abuse which they are all exposed to, they are surrounded by these evils and all we can do is try to mentor and rehabilitate them because the objective is to change their lives.”
BAS is an after-school programme, non-profit with the main purpose of enabling learners to showcase their basketball talents, offering education and sport.
“Our motto is an education first, basketball second, we use sport to lure them in our afternoon programme so that we teach them about school and life, using basketball,” he said.
The programme has 60 beneficiaries who all come from Katutura and initially started with 24 learners 10 years ago. “We partnered with some nearby schools, like Mandume Primary School, People’s Primary School, and A I Steenkamp, these are the three schools we have been dealing with since 2010,” Mumba explained.
Founded by Frank Albin, the programme has a vigorous process of taking in learners. “They usually start from grade 5 and that’s how these learners become part of the programme through tryouts. They go through three months tryouts before becoming part of the programme, we want to see if they will be committed. What we are saying is you don’t have to be the best, smartest, we want to see commitment,” explained Mumba.
The programme is an extension of the learners’ lives to an extent where those who have been there from the beginning are now at university and have decided to volunteer and assist where they can with the daily running of the programme.
Mumba said: “The ones at university and who have been part of the programme since they were young are now giving back to the programme by volunteering and facilitating sessions. We thought when they are done, they will go but they are now coming back and volunteering for the programme and giving back.”
For an organisation such as BAS, the constant hurdle like any other is funding. “We feed the kids immediately when they come from school and the funding is needed for that, apart from the workforce. It’s not easy, but we have been doing it for the past 10 years,” Mumba ended.
2020-06-10 09:30:32 | 1 months ago