Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
SWIMMING icon Kirsty Coventry will tomorrow launch her HEROES programme in Dzivarasekwa as she continues with her efforts to make sport accessible to children in underprivileged communities in the country.
The launch will take place at Dzivarasekwa 1 Community Centre.
HEROES is a Kirsty Coventry Academy initiative that provides free lessons to children in underprivileged areas of Zimbabwe. It is a community-based programme that leverages the power of sport as an effective method for tackling critical issues in these areas.
The programme utilises existing facilities, schools, sports centres, fields and volunteer coaches to create a safe and fun environment where children can participate in sport. The programme is already running in Chitungwiza and Kambuzuma. And Dzivarasekwa will be their third location. “A hero is someone who saves lives, helps others and is a good role model,” said Coventry.
Programme manager, Taririo Kadzirange, said since the start of the year they have reached out to more than 1 000 children.
“We started off in Chitungwiza in July, then we launched it in Kambuzuma in September. So this one will be our third location. This year alone we have reached over 1 400 kids. We started last year in July, then ended in December but in those six months we had 1 900 kids coming.
“But in this three-months period we have 1 400 kids, which actually shows that people are now aware of the programme, kids are interested in sport . . . from 1 900 in six months and 1 400 in three months, that’s an indicator that the programme is growing much faster than we had originally anticipated,” said Kadzirange.
Tomorrow’s launch will see the young participants taking part in basketball, football, rugby and volleyball under the guidance of coaches drawn from Dzivarasekwa.
“For every location that we go, we work with coaches from that community. And what Kirsty does, she then works with the national federations to up the skills.
‘‘For example if the coach is Level One, Kirsty then pays for them to go to Level Two since these are voluntary coaches. Kirsty’s vision is to go countrywide,” said Kadzirange.