Everyone at Soccer Without Borders is proud to congratulate Shiham on her selection as a Posse Foundation full scholarship recipient! As a SWB Oakland program participant, she has consistently embodied the core values that make SWB's programs special. Shiham’s determination and willingness to push toward her goals have now helped her to open the door to attend the University of Puget Sound, and we recently sat down with Shiham, amidst a lot of excitement, to congratulate her and to discuss what lies ahead, as well as some past experiences with SWB.
“I want to be a nurse when I grow up to go help my country and other developing countries,” said Shiham. “I feel like knowing what I have been through, coming to the US, and working with SWB, we all have different backgrounds and different stories - knowing that, I want to help people that went through the same things that I went through.”
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Shiham’s story is a unique one, which changed drastically when her family fled the developing civil war in the DRC and headed to Uganda. There, her family lived in a refugee camp for 11 years, before Shiham was able to come to the United States and join the Soccer Without Borders Oakland program. Shiham has thrived at SWB, as she quickly became a friend and a leader amongst her peers. She was keen to cite the communication skills and empathy for others that she developed during this time. SWB teams consistently include participants from diverse cultures all over the world, providing a platform for participants to form friendships and develop understandings that they may not have otherwise been exposed to.
Recently, Shiham also took part in SWB’s delegation to the Youth Festival at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. “It was an amazing experience to see the girls from all over the world,” said Shiham. “We were able to talk about many of the similar situations that we go through as female athletes.” More on Shiham’s World Cup experience can be found here.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Shiham expressed, “Through SWB, I learned leadership skills, which have led me to having this scholarship opportunity so yea, I am super excited!”
From Shiham’s arrival in the US seven years ago, to visiting a World Cup in France, to now receiving a 4-year full scholarship, Shiham has shown a strong will to push toward her ambitions. Oftentimes, the field of youth development yields significant results that are most felt behind the scenes, which can be challenging to see for those not directly involved in the programming. However, there are also moments and individuals like these that are visible right in front of us, and providing us with opportunities to acknowledge all of the SWB coaches, staff, and supporters who dedicate themselves to assisting our participants in unveiling the extraordinary potential that they each have within.