Children with an Alive & Kicking ball

Archive for ‘Botswana’

It’s a Blog Post Botswana

June 7th, 2010 by

Hats and Ball
Hats and Ball

The Ball and the former 1st Lady
The Ball and the former 1st Lady

Stamped and Signed The Ball can enter Botswana
Stamped and Signed The Ball can enter Botswana

Zebras waiting for The Ball to arrive
Zebras waiting for The Ball to arrive

DHL Botswana in da Haus
DHL Botswana in da Haus

Theo Walcott sports 3 Lions Shirt with pride dispite World Cup cold shoulder
Theo Walcott sports 3 Lions Shirt with pride despite World Cup cold shoulder

England prepare for World Cup with barefoot match in Botswana
England prepare for World Cup with barefoot match in Botswana

Christian’s Special School

June 7th, 2010 by

We sometimes wonder what we’re doing when we visit schools. Why are we here? What are the children learning? But sometimes, there is no doubt — and this rehabilitation centre for the severely disabled epitomises the certainty that we sometimes have.

Footballing (and writing) ability is not important
Footballing (and writing) ability is not important

The children in this school are too incapacitated to have been able to take part in the activities at the Kgafela Primary School in Mochudi earlier in the day. But Special Olympics wants to make them feel as much a part of the journey of The Ball as those who were able to make it to the school.

The Ball really is for everyone
The Ball really is for everyone

This is Christian’s first experience of mingling with those who are unable to play football and he takes it upon himself to make sure that each and every child gets to interact with The Ball in some way. The Ball has never been about football alone — and this visit is, to him, absolute proof that participation trumps competition.

Signing The Ball is of prime importance
Signing The Ball is of prime importance

You've got to head The Ball before you sign it
You’ve got to head The Ball before you sign it

The smiles of recognition are reward enough. The Ball is signed in new and previously unknown ways. Making a mark is more than adequate as The Ball makes its way around the children. Previously, Christian has been liberal in issuing yellow cards to those who deliberately handle The Ball. But here, he makes an exception — here, everyone is an honorary goalkeeper.

School Ball

June 7th, 2010 by

The Ball is greeted in spectacular style at the latest school visit here in Botswana. So far, it’s been schools, schools, schools all the way in Botswana — Special Olympics seem determined to show us what they are doing on the ground here, and we are duly impressed by what’s occurring.

The Ball... The Ball
The Ball… The Ball

Suburban Gaborone seems, on the face of it, to consist of endless strip-malls selling the usual corporate South African stuff, mostly shoes, it seems. But this school seems to want to show us what makes Botswana special.

The latest ball carrier
The latest ball carrier

We’ve been brought to schools which integrate those with special needs and are impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the staff towards their charges. This school is no exception.

A singing reception
A singing (not signing) reception

Wer are greeted by traditional singing and dancing by the children, their voices filling the air with harmony and rhythm. Special needs pupils are part of the reception, not apart from it. Our hearts are warmed and our feet are tapping.

The Ball is for everyone
The Ball is for everyone

When football is used to its full, there seem to be no limits to the barriers that it can bring down. Everyone plays their part, everyone gets involved — and everyone is important in this process.

Special schools

June 6th, 2010 by

It’s an early start after a crazy dash through the Kalahari where we got excited by our first South Africa street sign…

South Africa bound
Our first sign of South Africa

Our first school visit takes us to Segopotso School in Kanye, where 700 school children are eagerly awaiting The Ball. Christian is determined that every single one of them should have the chance to sign it. Time constraints don’t allow this, however, and a scrum develops as each and every child wants to sign The Ball.

Mission impossible? Can everyone sign The Ball?
Mission impossible? Can everyone sign The Ball?

700 kids and The Ball
700 kids and The Ball

We move to the football field where a Unified Football team of pupils with and without intellectual disabilities play against a team of teachers. It is a lot of fun and the game ends in a draw.

Children crowd the camera to be in the picture
Children crowd the camera to be in the picture

The children's Unified Football team
The children’s Unified Football team

The Ball 2014 left England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.