GYDA keeps kids off the streets through basketball

By Maria Hamutenya

GOBABIS Youth Development Academy strives to improve the lives of vulnerable young children, through teaching them basketball in the township of Gobabis.

GYDA is a volunteer youth organisation that provides afterschool programs to all school-age youth living in Gobabis, employing the Sports for Development and Basketball4Life methodologies with academic support to provide learners with guidance toward a brighter future.

GYDA caters for about 50+ kids from different communities. It was started in 2019 to assist vulnerable, less fortunate kids from the informal settlement of Gobabis, and had their first basketball tournament in Omaheke region, for both boys and girls.

Robyn Graham, president of GYDA, said they hope to expand the program by adding free tutoring classes and extracurricular activities, such as chess and art classes for afterschool, as well as increase the yearly intake. “We are currently also trying to get more people who are willing to assist us with these kids through the different skills that they are willing to teach the children.’

GIZ was one of the organisation’s main source of funding but the support would only be assured until the end of January.

“We are currently in search of financial assistance from any organisation willing to help lubricate our operational budget. We took this initiative to help out vulnerable children, both in-school and non-school going children, it is a way of keeping them off the streets and being able to showcase their talent through basketball, chess and arts,” Graham added.

Ludwig Ikwambi, who takes time off to teach basketball to the children, says he sees more children joining the organisation every day and that just shows that they are able to take up any challenge and develop their talents. “They are choosing not to be in the streets by joining our organisation, and so we are also not going to let them down,” Ikwambi promised.

Ikwambi added that GYDA recently held a training session, called Basketball4Life, which focused on incorporating healthy lifestyles themes.

“We want to help these kids carve a future for themselves for an afterschool experience, whether it’s through academics or sports. Most of these kids are already showing high signs of discipline and are eager to keep learning the skills to be productive members of society,” he said.

GYDA, along with local partners and Namibia Basketball Federation (NBF), hope to spread a culture of basketball throughout Namibia, and all the invaluable life lessons that come with it.

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