Saints Volleyball Sets Up Outreach Programme in Zambia
Saints Volleyball Outreach (SVO), too often confused with Project Zambia, is a brand new volunteer initiative this year – created by five members of the Women’s 1st Volleyball Team. “Inspired […]
Saints Volleyball Outreach (SVO), too often confused with Project Zambia, is a brand new volunteer initiative this year – created by five members of the Women’s 1st Volleyball Team. “Inspired by Sport” is the tag line and motivation of the group, which is close to meeting their £10,000 fundraising target which will fund the inaugural SVO trip to Lusaka, Zambia. Flying out on May 25th, 2013. The girls will each spend between four to six weeks in Lusaka working with Sport In Action (a Zambian NGO). During this time, they will travel to impoverished communities to coach volleyball, run leadership workshops, organize intercity tournaments, and coordinate the development of local coaches with Zambia’s Olympic Youth Development Centre.
I first had the idea to create a volleyball-specific outreach programme in Lusaka when travelling on a rickety Zambian “bus” (more tattered van, less bus) in 2011 when I was volunteering as part of the University’s Project Zambia initiative. I had been in Zambia for four weeks at that point, travelling 1.5 hours each day to Chipata Open Community School in Chipata Compound, one of Lusaka’s poorest areas.
Needless to say, this daily journey gave me a lot of time to think. Of the 45 university athletes, from seven different British universities, that came out to Zambia that summer there were only two volunteers sent with volleyball-specific experience. Volleyball isn’t a hugely popular sport in the UK but in Zambia it is one of the most popular sports, alongside basketball, netball, and football.
With the help of four incredibly enthusiastic and committed teammates, we created Saints Volleyball Outreach: Zambia 2013 that aims to inspire leadership and community participation through sport. This will be an annual trip, run by members of the University’s Volleyball Club, and hopes to include members from the Women’s 2nd and Men’s 1st Teams in future years.
We’ve been fundraising from September, starting with a Bucket Shake during the Alfred Dunhill Golf Tournament where golfing legend Dustin Johnson donated a generous £150. We also ran the Saints Date Auction at Rascal’s Bar in coordination with the Volleyball Club, raising a total of £1000 for our project. Individually, we’ve raised money from family and friends by committing to challenges like the Edinburgh Half-Marathon or a one-day Cross-Scotland Cycle. We’re currently running a Save The Change Campaign where we’ve asked close to 100 people to save-the-change on their purchases for ten days.
One of the most important lessons I have learned from organizing this programme is that if you see an opportunity in which you have something to contribute and can make a meaningful impact: DO IT. People will be so willing to help you out along the way.
With that said, I’d like to thank a few people who have helped us out and who have been essential to our success thus far: Stephen Stewart (Director of Sport and Exercise, St Andrews), Emily Griffiths (Athletic Union President, St Andrews), Peter Warburton (Dean of Experience, Durham), and the incredible staff at Sport In Action (George, Mwape, Frank).
image © Saints Volleyball