On any ordinary day of the week, the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA Kenya) headquarters is usually abuzz with sports and other activities. Football is the most notable sporting activity associated with the community center, though table tennis and a fitness center are also hosted in the complex located along Kangundo road adjacent to Komarock estate. Ever since the first case of Covid-19 was reported and the subsequent measures enforced by the government, activities at the center almost came to a screeching halt. Indeed these are extraordinary times.
Team Pankaj volunteers on their way to deliver parcels (Photo courtesy of MYSA Kenya)
Regulations barring sporting activities and social gatherings meant that the center had to be closed temporarily in compliance with government directives. Being a confluence of players, coaches, referees, and sports administrators who converge regularly at the center for training sessions, seminars, and administrative meetings, this meant that the impact would be felt across a total of 22 MYSA zones and branches in Nairobi.
Mr. Pankaj with MYSA Kenya C.E.O (Photo courtesy of MYSA Kenya)
Amidst this seemingly dark cloud, a silver lining emerged. MYSA Kenya in conjunction with Mr. Pankaj Shah a local business mogul, have partnered to illuminate the lives of the most vulnerable across the MYSA zones and branches by providing parcels containing maize flour, wheat flour, rice, green grams or chickpeas, cooking fat, sanitary pads and masks to families in the areas.
MYSA Kenya C.E.O George Nange delivering a parcel to one of the families (Photo courtesy of MYSA KENYA)
A team of volunteers led by Mr. Pankaj under the name Team Pankaj together with a host of volunteers from MYSA which include MYSA Kenya C.E.O George Nange, MYSA Kenya Academy director Henry Majale, players and official of both Mathare United men’s and women’s teams, MYSA coaches, referees, staff and a few other selected volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and made the ongoing activity a success.
Mr. Pankaj together with volunteers before delivery of parcels (Photo courtesy of MYSA Kenya)
Isn’t it amazing how the human spirit finds a way of reaching out to those who face greater challenges despite dealing with its personal challenges? In such unprecedented times, it is inspiring to see sportsmen and women coming together to touch their lives. Normally, the smiles would be as a result of world-class performances that wow crowds but not this time. Albeit facing a myriad of challenges due to the suspension of sports, these honorable men and women have transcended the urge to fulfill their needs and give priority to the most vulnerable. They may be off business and off the pitch; but are in tune with the needs of those around them.
MYSA Kenya Academy Director Henry Majale addressing volunteers before delivery of parcels (Photo courtesy of MYSA KENYA)
Just as is the case in various team sports, pulling together in the same direction in the name of teamwork makes the burden a little bit more bearable. Salute to you MYSA Kenya and Team Pankaj, you are true patriots.
Grateful residents after receiving parcels with supplies. (Photo courtesy of MYSA Kenya)
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