HISTORY OF TUNZA
The Story behind the Program
PLIGHT MOVES US, BUT IT IS OUR RESPONSE THAT MATTERS THE MOST!
Back in 2012 holiday season, Rael approached ‘Dress A Girl Around the World’, A Program of Hope 4 Women International and a few individuals for donations to bring a smile to underprivileged kids in Kenya during her first visit back home in 8 years. Just like DAGAW, she believes that every girl, should be covered in dignity and respect and by so doing, empowered with a high self-esteem to face the world.
With eight suitcases in hand, she delivered custom made dresses by DAGAW, boys clothing and beanie babies. The experience left her both exuberant but desolate. Obviously excited over the lives touched by the gesture, but lost over the inability to see the real impact. The donations seemed plenty and cost much to deliver, but for each recipient it was insufficient to make any real impact.
Four years later, Rael was at it again but this time with sports in mind. She gathered donations from her sport network and with the intention of drawing a link between sport development and donations. She hoped it would feel less of just a handout expedition. Armed with 5 suitcases this time she organized a sports day event at her former high school in western Kenyan and later a hockey and boxing clinic at the coastal region.
But again, without a proper structure in place, given the random nature of the donation events and target groups, the impact was unmeasurable, and she started experiencing donor fatigue. This unfulfilling experience shifted her perception from that of dishing out handouts to one of creating possibilities within the community to deliver sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.
”Despite their excitement on receiving the donations, the children seemed to want more than just handouts. Their eyes wanted a way out; a chance to stay in school and succeed. It reminded me of that old cliché that I know oh so well: “give a poor man a fish, you feed him for a day; but teach him to fish, you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” I wanted to give these children the tools to inspire them for a life time. Their motivation, determination and big dreams, touched me in a huge way. Sadly, they were on a path to inherit poverty, illiteracy, and despair. A possible solution was to keep them in school and make them active contributors to their own destiny. Then it hit me– ‘Sports Scholarships’.” Rael
Rael returned to the U.S. broke and discouraged. She was disappointed by how much time and energy she had spent without making much of a difference. Plight had made her spring up to action, yet to empower children who were on a path to inherit poverty, illiteracy, despair, a more sensible, realistic and sustainable plan is what was needed.
So, she began the journey, of teaching one community at a time, on how to fish ~ instead of giving them fish for a day. She thought of ways to give children the tools to inspire and motivate them to go to school; to build a determination to stay in school and become active contributors towards their own destiny. She teamed up with a few like-minded sports enthusiasts to create a presence on the ground and Tunza was formed.
At first it was a few equipment and a trip to introduce hockey to the most rural areas of the country. But within a short period, there was this overwhelming desire by communities to join the program, and on the other end, an overwhelming flow of donations. Demand and supply are both high since the needs are great and the willingness to donate great as well. How to weave the two worlds in a smooth process is where Tunza has had to work the most.
Tunza is not about Hockey, boxing or about any other sport and definitely our primary role is not to ask for aid. Tunza is about making a difference. About improving lives and breaking the cycle of poverty. By giving guided and purposeful stimulus, Tunza hopes to reduce the level of dependability on aid and increase self-reliance.
WHAT STARTED AS A SANTA-HOLIDAY GIFT TO KIDS IN ONE COMMUNITY, TURNED OUT TO BE A MOVEMENT.
United In Sports