YSDAK (by Gerald Omollo, secretary)
Youth Sports and Development Alliance of Kenya -YSDAK-, is a newly registered youth centred Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) working in Kenya with a mission to promote the full development and realization of potential by children and youths.
The group was started in May 1999, as a result of youth showing up to practice along with myself (Gerald Omollo). By then I worked with Homa Hills Community Development Organization as a Food and Nutrition Project Officer. Prior to this employment at Homa Hills, I played soccer for the Kisumu Hot Stars and Kisumu All Stars Clubs in Kisumu. This same clubs granted my educational scholarship through my High School since I was born of a family of humble economic background. I often practiced along with other young adults at an open ground near my working station, most of them were from poor families or were orphans. The interest that this activity generated among the young people prompted the desire to register the group of young soccer players as a sports development self help group at the District Office of Culture and Social Services Department in Rachuonyo.
Initially the project began with one centre in Kanam, West Karachuonyo of Nyanza province. The youth who were very enthusiastic walked long distance every day to play at the centre. This necessitated the creation of other centres to bring the playing closer to the youth. Today we have several centres, the latest in the neighbourhood of Kisumu town. The centres are coordinated by volunteer coordinators. I wish to recognize with humility Rooske de Joode a student attaché at Homa Hills (1998/9) for her valuable contributions of balls and in developing the initial concept of the project.
Playing with the young provided valuable opportunities of understanding the background of each and every child and we came to realize that majority of these children lived under pathetic conditions at home. Several of them had dropped out of school due to poverty and death of their parents emanating from HIV&AIDS related complications.
The desire to assist children from poor families realize their dreams of a good future, resulted into the introduction of additional components to sports namely: Child Sponsorship, HIV&AIDS behaviour change, Vocational training, Community service and most recently the children left behind. This is YSDAK‘s response to the plight of several orphaned children who are affected by poverty, poor health, poor shelter and inaccessibility to quality education. The project was initiated in the year 2008 in Central Kolwa, Winam division of Kisumu district to rescue children who have been made destitute due to loss of either or both parents. The project aims at improving care and support for Orphans and vulnerable children through partnerships, linkages and collaborations with development partners and well wishers both locally and abroad.
Through this initiative we envision to establish a school cum recreational centre for children and youth within Central Kolwa location to cater for disadvantaged children. The centre is to enroll both orphans and non orphans but efforts are being made to link orphans with sponsors to support their education while other pupils will be charged at the prevailing market rates for sustainability. Our plan is to link 200 children. Already more than 100 children from Kisumu centre are linked to sponsors of the Shika Tamaa initiative.