“There is no greater energizing and exciting thing than serving people who are at a stage where you have once been before.” - Jules Mayele, SWB Uganda Program Coordinator
As a Soccer Without Borders participant turned staff member, Jules Mayele has a special understanding of the SWB experience, especially for refugees. That background is what prompted him to produce this documentary video, which chronicles the experience of four refugee sisters from Democratic Republic of Congo. Having fled violence in their homeland, their family arrived in Uganda and the girls were encouraged to join SWB’s program.
The sisters featured in this video — Joanna, Angel, Michelline, and Providence — quickly became active members of the SWB community, showing rapid improvements in their English skills and becoming a positive influence on others. They continue to take advantage of leadership opportunities, including assistant coaching as part of the Global Goal 5 Accelerator. Theirs are just four of many stories of refugee youth who are adjusting to new environments, learning and growing while healing from trauma.
“It takes great resilience to bounce from traumatic and shattering events such as losing and separating from family members, to become great influential and strong role models within a short time,” said Mayele. “This is not an easy ride, but these girls are a definition of that [resilience].”
SWB Uganda offers football, literacy, and life-skills classes to over 400 refugee children each week, over 40% of whom are girls. By comparison, according to FIFA just 3% of football players on the African continent are girls. SWB continues to change this reality through its East Africa Global Goal 5 Accelerator and Women Take The Lead projects.
When asked about his motivation for this project and coaching at SWB, Mayele said: “I take this as a big privilege and it is what motivates and helps me bring the best out of myself whenever I am interacting with these kids at the center. Setting an example of hope to them, given I am a standing testimony of how SWB’s programming has a long-lasting impact on one’s personal development … fuels every single day I spend at SWB.”