Abdul Hussein’s Biography

My name is Abdul Hussein, and I am known in my community by my childhood name, “Cantar.” I was born and raised in Kibera, the biggest slum in East and Central Africa. Kibera is located on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.

We are eight in our family, representing five girls and three boys. I am the second born after my elder sister. Currently, I am married, and I have been blessed with two kids.

I schooled in Kibera and furthered my secondary school in upcountry, a secondary school known as Kisii High School, where I did my o level. The dream to attend high school was not guaranteed, keeping in mind that my other family members also needed to participate in school, and my dad was the sole provider with a low income.

Through my active participation in soccer, which I loved most, I managed to secure a scholarship to attend a boarding secondary school more than 500kms away from my destination. It was a relief to my parents to only cater to my essential school items. I dreamed I would one day play soccer professionally after high school and support my family and community. The plan was valid until I lost my ACL on my left knee after joining a company soccer club, playing in the second to the top-flight league (Nationwide), the Kenya premier league. Due to a lack of financial support and medical assistance, the soccer club I was engaged in did not have insurance for players.

It forced me to hang up my boots while looking for support to cover my operation, which was so expensive. After I inquired from a local National hospital if they have the service of fixing the ACL, the option was there, but it did not guarantee a return to vigorous soccer/competition; the news demoralized me completely. It took me a while to admit that I could no longer be involved in active sports (soccer), but it happened, and I admitted it eventually. That is a bigger problem, especially in Africa Countries where skillful and talented sports personalities have their dreams shattered at the preliminary stages due to a lack of good medical facilities. The Government’s priority of athletes could have rescued them.

Due to my love of the sport/game, While I was nursing my injury, I volunteered at my former primary community club as a team manager during community soccer tournaments, which sharpened my soccer knowledge. It kept me busy for a while, and I loved that. Opportunity knocked on my door. One local organization based in Kibera recruited me to represent my village. The organization was laying its foundation in Kibera with the first youth volunteers, one of which was me. I volunteered for almost four years as a Sports coordinator before transitioning into a Sports Program Officer; by then, other volunteers had left, and I was the only volunteer recruited among the twenty-two who remained in the system.

After serving for almost thirteen years, I left the organization and decided to start a community-based Organization known as Wayo Wayo Kibra. My bigger dream was/is to make sure that even though I did not make it to the professional platform, one day, one of the players from my system will represent the Kibera community in a professional arena. By that, I will have accomplished my dream to serve my Kibera community.

Currently, I registered Wayo Wayo Kibra, a community-based Organization, a Kiswahili word that means footstep/work. The organization creates an opportunity to address youth’s social issues via recreational soccer. Addressing these topics is essential for children’s continued development and education in a community setting.

My drive to register a community-based organization was to address social issues affecting the Kibera community’s youths by using soccer as a platform to mobilize the children in different villages in Kibera. Soccer is a powerful tool to address social issues; Kibera is a cosmopolitan environment where issues of insecurity, environmental, political, crime and clashes are witnessed on various occasions. Through that, I mobilized the youths with a single soccer ball and trained a few kids’ soccer skills daily. I started with five players, three boys, and two girls. As time went by, I managed to have children’s soccer teams from under 11, 13, 15, and 16 years old through support from my friends abroad who donated to Wayo Wayo Kibra used soccer equipment. Currently, the program is growing, and we are hosting the annual Wayo Wayo Kibra Life skills and Environmental seven aside Youths soccer league; about 2000 soccer players are engaged.

The Covid 19 pandemic caught the world offside and forced activities from Sports, Government, Parastatals, and Organizations to shut down to avoid spreading the disease. Through my advisor’s professors Elliot and Nancy, we decided to recruit soccer youths to be community health workers/Volunteers (CHW/V) to act as a bridge between the community and the Government health facility and still serve the community during the development of the soccer program. We trained twenty-five community workers that became certified by the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Health. Even though the Kenya Government has yet to pay most of the health workers that are volunteering for the service to serve their community, it is tough to survive during this harsh economic condition. Wayo Wayo Kibra-Health department aims to empower the health worker by engaging them and creating jobs to support their families. My bigger dream is to see my Kibra community represented on an international and professional platform, especially for those who did not make it well academically but are skillful/talented. They can still make it in life; for those who can kill two birds with one stone, it is another opportunity to strive. To my fellow girls, let it be a platform for them to get a chance to excel in their education to the limit that they cannot stretch anymore. I can confess that life in the slum is not that easy. It is like another university where you learn new stuff daily and builds an individual perception of approach.

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