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By perfectday, Jul 4 2019 12:47PM

Returning to Zambia as Northumbria’s 2019 Volunteer Zambia staff member has been a fantastic experience. After having extremely positive experiences as part of the project as a Student Coach in 2010, and Project Manager in 2012, I have to admit part of me was hesitant to return. Being in a different role, with less ‘hands-on’ coaching work supporting the Project Managers and students as opposed to leading, could the experience match my previous times in Zambia. Although it has been different, it has so far been equally rewarding to see the project first-hand continue to provide opportunities for young people in Zambia, and students from the UK. Even more rewarding has been having the opportunity to meet some of the young people I worked with as a student in 2010, now as young men doing well for themselves on and off the sport field.


In 2010, I coached football at the orphanage, school and community centre called Fountain of Hope as my Volunteer Zambia placement. Anyone and everyone who has visited Fountain will have fallen in love with the place. This includes Olympians Mel Marshall and Adam Peaty who have completed two fundraising challenges in Zambia to raise tens of thousands of pounds to support Fountain’s work. Having the privilege to return and meet some of the boys I coached succeeding in life is truly inspiring and only makes we want to support the project and Fountain of Hope even more. On Sunday 9th June I was invited to attend City of Lusaka FC’s Zambian Division 1 fixture (the second highest level league in Zambia) to watch Charles Katongo play. I coached Charles, with Fountain’s very own super coach Steven Siame, in 2010. They won 1-0, with Charles narrowly missing out on scoring a powerful Alan Shearer esc header with the opposition keeper pulling off a spectacular save. After the game I met Charles and we caught up on each other’s lives. I was also surprised by Joseph Mwindilila, who I coached in the same team as Charles and who now plays for top Zambian Super League side Green Eagles FC, who also attended the game and had come to meet me. Both have huge ambition coupled with tremendous work ethic and aim to one day represent Zambia. Its humbling how they still remember me 9 years on and thank me for the efforts I put into coaching them. I remind them that it is only their efforts that have taken them to where they are today, but it is a wonderful example and lesson to present and future Volunteer Zambia student volunteers that they can play a part in contributing to life changing work coordinated by the Wallace Group and Zambian NGO Sport in Action.


To cap things off, a few days later I visit Fountain to observe how the students are doing and another of my 2010 Fountain Alumni has come to visit me. Paul Nkole (nicknamed ‘Buster’), played for the U12’s in 2010 and had heard I was back in town. He is playing in the Zambian 2nd Division with Fountain of Hope’s senior team. Its incredible that, in a country with a population of 17.75 million people, a single orphanage/school/community centre in Lusaka has produced players at the elite level of Zambian football. Coach, and Sport in Action Site Coordinator, Steven Siame, who also grew up at Fountain, does an incredible job in helping young players reach their potential on the pitch, become good people off the pitch, and in supporting students every year on the project contribute as best they can to create a collective impact on limited resources in terms of facilities and equipment. It is sometimes difficult for students to see the impact they have on people’s lives over their 6-week placements, but the collective and consistent efforts of the Wallace Group, their students, and partnership with Sport in Action, certainly has had, and will continue to have, life changing outcomes for young people in Zambia.



By perfectday, Aug 2 2017 09:05PM

It has been 10 days since group 2 arrived here in Zambia and the time is already soaring. I arrived a day after everyone else as a result of a delayed flight in Heathrow and then a missed flight from Dubai. On my arrival, however, I was welcomed by some group 2 members at the airport, and I was happy to find myself feeling very comfortable around everyone in no time. Our first few days were spent settling in, unpacking, and playing loads of modified games thanks to Gethin. We’ve played indoor volleyball, card games, hand tennis, and pretty much anything with a ball and a bit of competition. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we’re absolutely loving it. It’s not very often that find yourself living with a group of people who not only love sports as much as you do, but who are also just extremely competitive. It’s such a relief to find ourselves feeling so at home after only a week. It has been great having Jon, our project manager, here because not only is he very relaxed but he is also full of information not only about all of our placements but also just about Lusaka and the Zambian culture in general. We all feel very comfortable going to him with any questions, which has relieved a lot of unnecessary stress. In addition, we have Gethin as our staff member at the moment and he is an absolute legend. He is calm and responsible while also just loads of fun. I don’t think he realises the impact he has already made on us all. At the risk of sounding really dramatic, the thought of him leaving next week is a very painful one.


By the end of our first weekend I think many of us were feeling a bit nervous about placement on Monday even though we didn’t want to admit. However as soon as we had our first day most of us felt a lot better no matter how good or bad it went. Just finally being able to visualise what placement would be like was a huge relief. My first day at Chipata was absolutely bomb mainly because any spare time we had we got to spend it with the little babies. I could put every last one of them in my pocket and take them home with me. They are so excitable and seeing how happy we can make them even with such little effort is absolutely amazing. No feeling can beat it.


In terms of coaching I think our second week will be really big in terms of confidence and comfort. So far we’ve had five solid days of learning from peer leaders as well as testing what we already know. I’m excited to see what week two will bring for myself, my group, and for all the kids we get to work with.



By perfectday, Jul 24 2017 06:07PM

The next adventure is now only one month away and I am so excited to be returning to Zambia to tackle 50 hours of sport over 5 days, with the hope of raising £50k. The money raised will go towards a number of projects: facility construction, food programmes and educational sponsorships.


It has been 11 years since I first touched down in Zambia. ELEVEN years. Trying to avoid a cliché here, but time really does fly! In 2006 I was a naive 20 year old, with boundless energy and an unrelenting passion for sport. What I didn’t know at the time was the power that sport can have in shaping the future of young people – both English students and the local Zambians. I think the most powerful lesson I learnt on that first trip, was the reciprocity of sports coaching.


I landed in Zambia to blazing sunshine and a sea of vibrant colours. The women were dressed in traditional dresses called ‘chitenge’, children on their hips and shopping on their heads, their faces a-wash with smiles. The children were in abundance; galloping around the streets, playing with any items they could find that vaguely resembled a toy!


I will return next month as a 31year old, still with boundless energy, just with a slightly longer recovery time!! One magical factor that is accentuating my excitement, is that this time I go back with the luxury of having seen firsthand the power that sport has to change lives. When I first returned from Zambia eleven years ago, together with some great friends, we set up The Perfect Day Foundation with the ambition to provide sustainable funding to young Zambians in order to help them to make informed life choices, in some instances, to simply give them the luxury of choice – in practicality, this is school sponsorship, food programmes and facility creation. We endeavor to provide the tools and resources that will enable these amazing young people to achieve their dreams. Since we founded The Foundation we have seen over 60 children through school, built several facilities including multipurpose sports pitches and toilet and shower blocks, as well as creating a sustainable food programme for a local street kid drop in centre. We are desperate to continue our work and grow the programme to benefit the lives of more young people – both in Zambia and those travelling from the UK.


Next month, I will be part of a team of 14, including the sensational British swimming coach Mel Marshall and one of her incredible athletes, Adam Peaty, and together we will take on this massive challenge. We will have 10 hours of basketball, 10 hours on netball, 10 hours of volleyball, 10 hours of football and to finish we will have a 10-hour triathlon….all over the course of 5 days. We are fortunate enough to also be joined by a number of the CEOs that represent these sports in the UK, which will further enhance the learning and education on the ground in Zambia.


Over the coming weeks we will be publishing interviews with a number of the awesome team, so you can learn more about them, their motivations and their sporting prowess. As I say, we are hoping to raise £50k, so if you would like to donate, please give what you can here.


Live footage will be streamed throughout the week to show you just how hard we are working for the funds : )


Thanks for listening, Mols x


By perfectday, Jul 18 2017 10:51AM

The next adventure is now only one month away and I am so excited to be returning to Zambia to tackle 50 hours of sport over 5 days, with the hope of raising £50k. The money raised will go towards a number of projects: facility construction, food programmes and educational sponsorships.


It has been 11 years since I first touched down in Zambia. ELEVEN years. Trying to avoid a cliché here, but time really does fly! In 2006 I was a naive 20 year old, with boundless energy and an unrelenting passion for sport. What I didn't know at the time was the power that sport can have in shaping the future of young people - both English students and the local Zambians. I think the most powerful lesson I learnt on that first trip, was the reciprocity of sports coaching.


I landed in Zambia to blazing sunshine and a sea of vibrant colours. The women were dressed in traditional dresses called ‘chitenge’, children on their hips and shopping on their heads, their faces a-wash with smiles. The children were in abundance; galloping around the streets, playing with any items they could find that vaguely resembled a toy!


I will return next month as a 31year old, still with boundless energy, just with a slightly longer recovery time!! One magical factor that is accentuating my excitement, is that this time I go back with the luxury of having seen firsthand the power that sport has to change lives. When I first returned from Zambia eleven years ago, together with some great friends, we set up The Perfect Day Foundation with the ambition to provide sustainable funding to young Zambians in order to help them to make informed life choices, in some instances, to simply give them the luxury of choice – in practicality, this is school sponsorship, food programmes and facility creation. We endeavor to provide the tools and resources that will enable these amazing young people to achieve their dreams. Since we founded The Foundation we have seen over 60 children through school, built several facilities including multipurpose sports pitches and toilet and shower blocks, as well as creating a sustainable food programme for a local street kid drop in centre. We are desperate to continue our work and grow the programme to benefit the lives of more young people – both in Zambia and those travelling from the UK.


Next month, I will be part of a team of 14, including the sensational British swimming coach Mel Marshall and one of her incredible athletes, Adam Peaty, and together we will take on this massive challenge. We will have 10 hours of basketball, 10 hours on netball, 10 hours of volleyball, 10 hours of football and to finish we will have a 10-hour triathlon….all over the course of 5 days. We are fortunate enough to also be joined by a number of the CEOs that represent these sports in the UK, which will further enhance the learning and education on the ground in Zambia.


Over the coming weeks we will be publishing interviews with a number of the awesome team, so you can learn more about them, their motivations and their sporting prowess. As I say, we are hoping to raise £50k, so if you would like to donate, please give what you can here.


Live footage will be streamed throughout the week to show you just how hard we are working for the funds : )


Thanks for listening, Mollie (Founding partner) x

By perfectday, Jun 28 2017 08:31PM

Week 1 of the project!! The first weekend was free for the students to arrive, settle in, sort out their Zambian phones and visit the Lilayi Elephant Sanctuary.


The start of the week saw us going to Sport in Action to watch the Zambian under 20s play, it’s amazing how much they value even their U20s team, compared to in England where nobody really bothers. After lunch we had the in country induction, which gave the students the opportunity to learn about their placements and meet their peer leaders, who they’ll be working closely with for the next 6 weeks and also learn about the differences between the British and the Zambian culture.


Truck tour – one of the best days of my experience in Zambia!! Going round all the placement sites on the back of a flat-bed truck. The smiles and excitement of the kids was overwhelming and infectious! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed being able to see all the placements and the kids reaction just goes to show the level of appreciation they have for us being here.


The first day of placement I attended Chipata. It was a great first day! Getting stuck in to PE sessions straight away with the SEN class and grade 4, both a challenge in different ways, but was great to start to build the confidence of the students in leading the songs and movement games. The afternoon saw the students lead basketball and football sessions. The language barrier was the one main challenge, but the students soon came up with alternative communication methods or made use of the peer leaders to translate.


The group have very quickly settled in to their placements with just one or two minor issues, but all were quickly sorted! I cannot wait to see what the next 5 weeks will hold!