The theme of engagement for the month of July is sports and community development. Here is the story of a young lady from Vanuatu, Mary Siro, tells her how sports gave her a second chance.
After being forced to leave school early because her family could not afford the fees, Mary began volunteering at the Wan Smolbag Youth Centre, which supports young people who are not in school. She became a peer educator, teaching other women about issues such as family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention. She then went on to become the centre’s sport officer and began running different sports groups for young people. As a result of her commitment to young people, Mary won a scholarship to the Australian Pacific Technical College to complete a course in youth work. She also plays on the Vanuatu National Hockey Team.
Mary shares some key messages for youth and especially young girls:
“From my experience sports gives job opportunity, occupy, educate in real life issues and discipline youth so they do not participate in crimes. My leadership career started when I became involved in sports. Sport gave me second chance in education and a job opportunity that most girls like me could not have. Sport gave me a chance to travel a lot representing my country and gave me this opportunity to meet the Queen of England in her own palace. I am who I am because of sports.”
Mary’s message to young girls:
“To all the girls who think they have no hope. I say sports can give second chances, job opportunities and you can get to represent your country anywhere in the world”