Gems star Moyo impacts on young girls

Shelly Guni

Gems and Platinum Queens star, Progress Moyo has made a tremendous impact both on and off the court.

In October 2019, she launched the Future Stars Netball Foundation as an effort to give back to young girls in her community.

The foundation aims to empower young girls through netball coaching, life skills training, as well as various community-based programs.

Moyo who plays for the Zvishavane-based netball league champions, -Platinum- decided to give back to her community by establishing the foundation in the mining town.

The foundation has been a great success, reaching more than 50 girls across the Zvishavane community and beyond.

The need to protect and empower the girl child contributed to the formation of the foundation, Moyo said, adding it also complemented government efforts to eliminate child marriages and early pregnancies

“The girl child is exposed to a lot of risks including teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and girls also have the highest chance of dropping out of school if the family faces financial problems. It is in this regard that we found it necessary to create a platform where girls will be empowered. We are advocates for progress and improvement in youth netball,” she said.

She said the foundation sought new and innovative programs to improve and further develop netball players, teams and clubs.

Moyo further highlight that the foundation would invest the time and resources necessary to assure the success of such programs and demonstrate a willingness to adapt to innovative ways of coaching, training and operating as a club.

At the heart of the Foundation is the spirit of “paying it forward” by creating opportunities for Netball loving young girls to excel in what they are passionate about and be successful in their careers.

Since its launch, the Foundation has positively changed many lives.

“Engage the Community- Sports has a unique ability to bring people together in such a way that allows us to transcend our differences and find common ground. Similarly, athletes are powerful influencers and role models who have a unique platform capable of unifying diverse groups and inspiring change.

“Future stars foundation is committed to finding creative ways to use sports and athletes to inspire positive social change. We will also provide resources, training, and development to assist and empower athletes to successfully launch community-positive, socially conscious, and social entrepreneurial endeavors.”

They also aim to be the leading voice of the girl child.

“We hope to use sport to unite, empower, challenge, and inspire the current and the next generation of girls and improve their lives as athletes and to act as stewards of the best practices in the sports industry as a whole.

“To positively impact the development of youth in the community by providing netball and life-enriching opportunities to young players of all ages and playing abilities, and to help raise the level of netball in our community, our province and the nation at large.”

“Future Stars strive to play an active role in the leadership, development and personal growth of our players by being an active member of our community through service, partnerships and programs.

“Our ultimate goal as a club is to encourage, inspire and empower each player to be able to reach the highest level possible within the game and in life, while helping create leaders and individuals that will inspire others to do the same, and harness the power of sport to inspire positive social change.”

Veteran netball coach and Bulawayo -based Free Stars Netball Academy director, Menfree Tanyanyiwa feels that investing in grassroots development is the only way to take the game forward in the country.

“It is important that we continue developing new talent for the sport to ensure that we keep feeding the National teams at all levels with an abundance of playing talent. It’s the only way the country can remain a top netball playing nation.

“We are grateful for academies like future stars which are in areas which traditionally were not covered by grassroots development. This enables us to reach and give opportunities to the girl child across the breadth of the nation.

“We need more such academies in other provinces, including the rural areas. We have a number of girls drawn from the rural communities whose lives have been positively impacted by Netball,” he said.

Some of the players under the foundation are grateful for the opportunity they have been given to learn about on and off court skills.

During a visit to the foundation, Review & Mail spoke to a number of girls who had this to say.

“This helps me in terms of physical fitness. We are however not being taught netball alone, we get through some guidance and counselling sessions where we are given some advice about real life issues.

It is so important in the lives of us as young girls to adhere to the advice so that we won’t be found wanting,” Nancy Muzvondiwa said.

Another player, who has had the opportunity to play for the under-19 national team, Faith Chitunda said the foundation helps her to always keep fit.

Sports administrator and also founder of Armor Sports Foundation Joyce Katopa hailed Moyo for the initiative.

“Well done to Moyo for starting this foundation, I know it’s not easy but it’s a great thing when other athletes lead and also create pathways for young talents. The women in sport eco system keeps growing and acts as a clarion call to other women to come on board.

“It’s exciting when women lead these initiatives, they act as role models to other young ones that ‘Women Can’ and that women equally are capable in these industries traditionally dominated by men.

Katopa however admitted that getting funding was not easy.

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