Day 10: Rwanda National Olympic Committee

The Rwanda National Olympic Committee is housed in
the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali (in the native language
of Kinyarwanda it means “Peace Stadium”).

Group picture with the Rwanda NOC representatives.

Today we completed our second day of PE class at KICS. We taught basketball, fútbol, and American football to kindergarten and second grade, totaling 29 students. We quickly ate lunch provided by KICS and returned to the hotel to get ready to leave for the NOC, Rwanda’s National Olympic Committee. Our first sight of the area was their large fútbol stadium highlighting their country’s colors of bright blue, green and yellow. We met with two women on staff to give us an overview of the various operations they provide through the NOC. One thing that caught my attention was the several opportunities they give women to play sports in their country. After the 1994 genocide, it was impossible for any Rwandan woman to join a cycling group or other sport. Now, they offer several sports such as swimming (11 women) to participate and compete in the Olympic and African Games. Every year, the NOC also hosts a Women and Sport event that gives females the chance to interact in physical activity and gain education on leadership roles.

After meeting and learning about several sport organizations in Rwanda, I feel that all of the establishments are making a movement for gender equality in their country. According to the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, giving women the opportunity to participate in physical activity or an organized sport decreases the risk of teen pregnancy, increases their knowledge on physical and mental health, and gain more access to leadership opportunities and experiences. As a young woman that grew up playing sports in the United States, I cannot imagine the type of person I would be without my invaluable sport-related experiences. It gave me the opportunity to compete at the Division I level while attaining a degree at Virginia Tech. The insight gained while being in Rwanda and the course on sport and cultural development, has opened my eyes and heart to the blessings that sports provide to women around the world.

-Adriana Grabski

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