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Monday, 22 August 2011

Youth in Sports: The Anchor, August 2011


Ngaakaa Youth Centre
makes Kenya Proud

By Daniel Kituku 
in Makueni County
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It is a little known institution, yet it has done this country proud. Ngaakaa Youth Talent Centre has left Kenyans wondering and praising as  its products emerged winners in the just ended   Special World Olympic  Games held at Athens, Greece with the centre pocketing two gold and  one silver medal.

The centre located at the semi arid plains at the outskirts of Makindu Township of Makueni county, 200 kilometers south of Nairobi city is home of 320 residents  incorporating young talented boys and girls nurturing their talents in sports and athletics.
 Ngaakaa accommodates three categories of youth: those with intellectual special disabilities, physical disabilities and talented boys and girls in soccer and athletics who are under 17 years.
The talent centre is purely a community institution founded some one and half years ago, after community found its need to assist their youth explore talents.
 The centre headed by a manager who doubles as centres’ main coach Mr Bonface Makumi Ndambuki and is backed by six volunteers

‘‘We are currently hosting a population of 320 people with 42 cases of youth with disabilities and seven community volunteers who manage the centre’’ said the manager Mr Makumi. The youth  are drawn from the entire Makueni County
The seven volunteers, supported with meager resources from community and well wishers have propelled the talent centre to great fame through sports.
During the special World Olympic summer games held  last month between June 19 to July 4 ,  two girls from the centre scooped two gold medals .
A class six pupil at the centre’s Ngaakaa Primary School, Maria Katumbi Mutuku, 13 years won a gold(Pictured Left) medal  in football as the best  goalkeeper at the games where her team won the Olympics.
 Jenifer Mumbua Mutuku(Pictured, Right) also a class six pupil at Kambi Mawe primary school special unit  and trains at the Ngaakaa Youth Centre, won a gold medal in 800m race and a silver medal in 1500m race.
 The centre  is under financial crisis from increasing cost of living and is appealing for assistance or risk an eminent closure. “our youth are from poor families who can not support them and with limited resources,  we are not able to accommodate high demand of youth seeking enrolment at the centre’’ said the manager
Mr makumi laments that Poverty, recurrent famine  are some of  devastating conditions that have led to high number  of school dropout especially orphans and other vulnerable children who flock to the centre in search of assistant.
The community  behind Ngaakaa Youth Talent Centre  in Ngaakaa sub location, Twaandu location , Makindu District , Makueni county is seeking  financial and material support from the government and well wishers to help them improve the welfare of many disadvantaged youth in discovering their talents.
The talent centre manager recalls  a tough and devoting roadmap to run the centre. “We have been borrowing money and food from well-wishers to keep these children in the centre.’’ He said.
Mr.Makumi said the centre is faced by many challenges among them  lack of training materials and training skills, absence  of  health care and a special unit facilities. The manager is calling on the government to intervene and supplement the community efforts by providing material and technical support.
Support to rescue the falling centre which if well managed can grow the facility to a county sports talent training centre of excellence.
Mr Makuni added that the centre welcomes youth from all over during the vacations for sports training camp adding that any support to the centre is highly welcome.

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