Majidah Nantandah is a big name in African football. Coach of the Uganda She Cranes, the national women’s team, she’s used to travelling across the continent for international tournaments, as well as coaching and mentoring the rising stars of Ugandan football. But away from the guts and the glory, Majidah has another goal: to use her footballing talent to empower those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Majidah visits schools in the capital Kampala on a weekly basis, delivering HIV and sexual health education for free through TackleAfrica’s unique football drills. Of course, everyone likes scoring, but the real goal here is to equip young Ugandans with the confidence and the knowledge to make safer sexual decisions. The impact on a young Ugandan from such an education is not always immediately obvious. There are quiet changes that happen, and sometimes it takes months, or even years, for the full effects to be seen.
Majidah spoke to us this week about one player on the programme, her name withheld for privacy, who had opened up about her experience on our programme. Majidah tells us, “for the last two years now, this player has been attending TackleAfrica impact sessions. The first time she did our training she was shy and had no confidence. This is a child with a disability and she is eleven years old. Talking to her this week, she told me that at first she thought she would not be involved like the other kids. She was always thinking so much, she never believed in herself. But now she’s gained confidence. Everyone encourages her to participate in drills just like any other child. She tells me she is happy playing football with both boys and girls, and not discriminated due to her abilities. She says that she has learnt a lot about HIV and would encourage her other classmates to have a chance to attend the programme next year. She even says she talks about HIV to her friends at home.”
With the support of a TackleAfrica coach like Majidah, and the acceptance of her TackleAfrica team, this young player is winning in all the right ways. More knowledge, more resilience, less discrimination, less stigma, all helping to protect herself and her community from HIV. And those are our favourite kind of goals.
If you want to get involved in TackleAfrica, from fundraising to volunteering as a coach in Africa, we’d love to hear from you! Please visit www.tackleafrica.org/get-involved