TWO young girls have returned from a life-changing trip to Kenya to see how sport plays a big part in the African country.
Holly Phillips and Lara Woodgate, 16, from Oaklands Catholic School, Waterlooville, met young people living in Nairobi and rural slum villages.
They saw how sport can break down ethnic divisions and offer opportunities to disadvantaged youngsters.
During their visit, they went to the St John’s Sport Society where money has been raised by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod) to encourage sport among young people.
Holly, who represents Hampshire at badminton, said: ‘The young people there are amazing.
‘They were open, welcoming and dedicated to sport.
‘All the older ones spend time training the younger ones.’
The girls have taken a leading role in their own school’s sports competitions as well as fundraising for Cafod, which organised the trip.
Holly, who plays badminton four times a week, said: ‘The people there have inspired me to keep trying harder. They’d never heard of badminton before and I was able to do a bit of training with some of the girls.’
Recalling her experiences of the slums, Holly added: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s inhuman that people have to live with open sewers with whole families squashed into tiny rooms.’
Lara, who plays golf for Hampshire, added: ‘This trip has changed my life. I saw people living in the most extreme conditions.
‘But despite this, I met some amazing people who took the smallest opportunity given to them to work hard and change their circumstances.’