According to The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child article 31 it is stated that
“States Parties should recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” However many children with a parent in prison are denied this right, to be specific a right to play and this affects their growth adversely.
In terms of physical and health aspects of child and youth development, a lot of research and studies reveal many positive effects of sport and exercise on physical health, growth and development. Besides hunger faced by children of prisoners, the denial to a right to play has resulted in most children of prisoners being stunted, having a low self esteem and to perform poorly in class among many other problems faced by this group of at risk children.
At Wells of Hope, play is an integral part of the programme we run for these children, and we have learned that these children are not any different, they are like any other children and we have seen that play is helping these children to develop like any other children.
On Saturday (20th July 2014), we held the first Sports Day at Wells of Hope Academy, and it was successful. The children are grouped under different clubs/groups normally called houses namely Elijah , Joshua and David houses.
The activities/Games included football, Netball, short relays, bottle filling, 100 meter race, uniform dressing and football. The overall winner was Joshua house.
All children participated and were so involved, and they displayed their talents, they were cheering, the whole school was electrified with excitement and ululations. The children had lots of fun, and for those who won and for others seeing their friend win, it inspired them that after hard work there is a big reward. They learnt that there is a winner and a looser in a competition like this, but this should not stop them from participating.
Through sports children of prisoners are able to learn to be fair , they learn honesty, working together with others, discipline ,respect for themselves and others, and adherence to rules . You can appreciate that these learning aspects display the impact of play on a child’s social and moral development in addition to physical skills and abilities.
We were also able to identify the children’s talents further and we will work towards helping them develop them.
Children of prisoners usually have a low self-esteem and this kind of sports/games have also helped to improve the esteem of our Children. And this has a ripple effect on how they improve on other aspects of their lives.
The winning house was awarded a goat, which they will slaughter and do goat roasting.
The challenges we have is that we need sports gear/uniform, shoes, equipment, and our playfield/ground needs to be developed. Yesterday we just hired the play field that we used.
The teachers did a good job to train the children; it was inspiring to see the little children like Brian and Derrick who recently joined understand the instructions clearly.
Thank you for your support, it makes these extra-curricular activities for children of prisoners possible and also ensuring that they are not denied a right to play.