BANDA BOLA KEEPS CHILDREN IN SCHOOL THROUGH SPORTS
Inspired by the deaths of his mother and father, Coach Banda established Banda Bola Sports Foundation to keep the names and legacy alive.
Kalekeni Banda, a Soccer Coach by profession, trading under the nickname “Coach Banda” and brand name “Banda Bola Soccer”, he combined the names to name the foundation so that people in the United States of America could associate the name and the foundation.
“Our goal and purpose is to serve others. The mission and vision for Banda Bola is promote education and sports in schools. I love sports and want to share my passion for sports with school children,” he explains.
Banda Bola conducts soccer clinics for teachers and students in Nkhatabay district in Malawi.
“We want to support children who attend school regularly to help them stay and finish primary school while assisting them to dream of going to secondary school and beyond.”
Banda Bola Sports Foundation is inclusive as it also works hand in hand with children who are physically challenged.
“Working with individuals with Hearing Impairment is always emotional and brings joy to all concerned,” says the seemingly emotional Coach.
According to Coach Banda, the clinics are working, seeing more girls participating and attendance at schools is now better than before.
“It was exciting to see all the children come out smiling, hoping that they will get a soccer ball and go play. At the same time the grown ups in the village had no idea what we were trying to implement as it was all new to everyone in the village.
“They were not ready to receive the Sports and Education project during its inception but overtime more awareness and interaction with parents has helped them see the purpose of the project. However, Coach Banda points out that on a personal level it has been transformative and life changing for Banda Bola Sports Foundation to learn from the different interface meetings held on how best to work with the community to achieve the intended objectives.
Coach Banda adds: ” Also, since girls don’t play soccer, that was a problem. We started with Bandawe Zone Primary Schools as our main focus. Now have included Kachere Zone and Tukombo Zone and totalling over 30 schools. Recently we are supporting 4 primary schools in Mzuzu City area.”
One of the areas Banda Bola Sports Foundation wants to focus on is building the capacity of teachers and volunteers to sharpen their organizational skill set which in a long run can help in realising the vision of the Chituka Village project.
“Since there is no Physical Education in Schools and teachers are not able to coach the students that is a huge problem. They can’t teach the soccer technical skills,” he says.
Meanwhile, Banda Bola Sports Foundation is working with several organizations such as Rotary Clubs, Schools, Universities and partners in USA including Coaches Across Continents, Kickin’Back Foundation and Make Your Ball Day Foundation.
In order to empower the children, teachers and volunteers , Banda Bola Sports Foundation has geared up to have its own Mini Stadium.
“We are building a Soccer Field Complex at Chituka Village in Nkhatabay district in Malawi that will have changing rooms and toilets. The facility is mainly to be used to train teachers and potential coaches. Students who excel in academics and sports will be invited to train at the facilities. We are still in phase one and next we be leveling the field by next month,” he reveals.
Coach Banda hails from Chituka Village, the home of his parents and ancestors.
He grew up as a child and attended Malengamzoma Primary School the past five decades. His passion and drive to see children access quality education through sports is what he lives for .