Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yasini Shabani Takes A Positive Turn

My name is Yasini Shabani. I am 17 Years old. I was born in Arusha, Tanzania and come from a very  humble family. My parents run small business to keep food on the table, and I often missed school for long periods to help out. I like playing tennis after I finish my studies every day. I started playing  tennis when I was 12 years old. I couldn't  improve my  game as  fast as I would have wanted because I lacked the facilities.
When the Sadili Oval Tennis Team came to my country for a tournament, I played very well with one of   their  top  players although I lost narrowly. Due to this, I got a scholarship the following year to join Malezi  School, and I finally got a chance to have a good education. While at Malezi, I have  played tennis  at the National Secondary  Schools Games for the past three consecutive years for the school team, which have been winners for the last eight years. I have been playing for the Tanzanian national team for 5 years and I have been the Team captain. In 2009, I represented my country in the Africa Junior Championship in Morocco, and I have also played the East Africa ITF 18 and Under Circuits since 2008. I do well  in both my academics and tennis. My dream is to become a tennis  professional in the future and an Architect, because I like to design things.

Henry Ayesiga Aiming High

My name is Ayesiga Henry. I am from Uganda. I was born in 1997 and I am 13 years old. I came from one of the small slums found in Kampala, Uganda. Life in that area is hard because of the Hygiene and Health of the place. I was brought up by my Father and Mother. My family is made up of five children. We are four boys and one girl. I am the second born child. I was introduced in tennis by my father because he was working in a tennis club called Kampala Club as a grounds supervisor. The salary that he was getting was not enough to sustain us with all our needs. That made our life hard, because my mother had no job and staying in school was very difficult. I joined tennis at the age of 8 years, while picking balls for members at Kampala Club to earn some money and help my mother and I found the game very interesting. I started working very hard with the encouragement of my father and a member of the club, Mr. John Nagenda, who told me that tennis was my talent. One day, I was told that there was going to be a free tennis camp for all children at Lugogo Stadium, and many children went, and I got to meet Dr. Liz for the first time. Because of my efforts and hard work, I was given a tennis scholarship in Kenya, I have never been so happy and my parents are very proud of me. I finally got to go to Malezi School and I train to improve my tennis at Sadili Oval. My dream is that one day I will become a professional tennis player and a Lawyer after school. I also play basketball and football during my leisure time. I one day dream of achieving my goals and help my family, relatives and friends who need my help. Malezi has helped me to know myself and to discover who I am, and I managed to complete the primary school with good passes in KCPE and graduated to high school this year, where a few of us are now part of Sadili Talent Training Academy, which helps us balance between school and tennis. Through Sadili, I now play very well and have represented Uganda in Under 14 tournaments, and I am also number 2 in the 16 and Under and number 1 in the 14 and Under in the Tennis Africa Cup tournaments ( In April this year, I played the ITF 14 and Under Circuit, and was runner-up in the first event and won the second one, making me number 18 in the Confederation of Africa Ranking. I also work with younger children from the slums of Kibera every Saturday, helping coach and advise them, all of us are expected to do this at Sadili, and I find it very interesting mentoring other children and watching them improve. I know that it is not easy to look after me, and hope that more people will come out to sponsor more children, but this is my home now, and I am sure that Malezi and Sadili will help me to achieve my goals for the future.

Kibera-born Jamin Admitted To Tennis School

My name is Jamin Luvembe and I am 15 years of age. I am a Kenyan citizen. I was born in Kibera slums in Nairobi. Life in the slums is very hard. The toilets are very bad meaning that you have to wear specialised boots to access them. The bathrooms have mosquitoes which expose our health to danger of contracting malaria. Everyone relies on their God for security. There are many jobless youths who attack others when they come from their work places. My brother started going to Sadili and later I asked him to teach me the basics of tennis. Since we had no racquets, we decided to use our hands and a ball since that was the easier way. We did it out of passion even though our hands were paining and turning red. I felt very pleased to know another different sport apart from soccer. I chose tennis because soccer had many players and my chances of going far with it were very low. Soccer had competition and I knew that I was not among the best. I knew at last I could disapprove my fellow ghetto boys. I have travelled to three countries: the USA, Tanzania and Uganda, and I am currently Number 1 in the Tennis Africa Cup tournaments. My tennis has helped me join Malezi School, a very different school from others. People are good and social and they don't discriminate others. They have helped me to be a social and friendly. My life has changed for the burden of school fees is no longer on my parents. I have learnt that whatever you do on the court is for yourself and from your heart. When I travelled I thanked God because it is very rare for a slum child to travel out of the country. I want to become a neurosurgeon or a professional tennis player in the future. This is because I want to save lives and inspire others to do so.