Over 150 children from Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps participated in the UNESCO 2021 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
UNESCO, who collaborated with Tony International Gymnastics (TIG) club, Abuja. engaged children in gymnastics, basketball, tennis and badminton, on Saturday.
Kevin Wilima, a staff of UNESCO, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the fourth edition of the event was aimed at using sports to heal and build confidence in the kids.
“Sports is a great instrument for building resilience, confidence and healing, that is why we decided to reach out to the less privileged in our society.
” To make it even better, we decided to explore the use of traditional games like ‘ten ten’, ‘voom voom’ and ‘suwe’, which the children are familiar with before we moved on to other ‘foreign’ sports.
“Sports is a language where everyone communicates and it is pivotal for improving self-esteem, sustaining peace and for recreation” Wilima added.
Wilima also said that the annual event was limited to few participants due to COVID-19.
” We usually have more kids than what you see here, but due to COVID-19, we had to reduce the number of children here,” he said.
On his part, Anthony Asuquo, coach of TIG club, said he was hopeful that events like this would be frequent to put smiles on the faces of the IDPs.
“You can see how happy the children are and how willing they are to do sports and get involved. Children are the future and it would be our undoing we don’t nurture them properly,” Asuquo added.
Asuquo, who is Nigeria’s first certified International gymnastics coach, also said the children were drawn from the Wasa and Orozo IDP camps.
The coach called on the government and private sponsors to help better the lives of the less privileged, especially through sports.
NAN reports that the event was expected to hold on April 6, the annual International Day of Sports and Development for Peace but was postponed, due to the commencement of the National Sports Festival in Benin.