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Jamie Thomson
Jamie Thomson

Press Release - 31 July 2006

Zambian children get Aids advice through student-led sports clinics

Four University of Bath students have just returned from an exchange programme in Zambia where they have been helping address some of Africa’s most pressing problems through sport.

Based at drop-in centres and schools in deprived parts of the Zambian capital, Lusaka, the students spent four weeks running football, netball and cricket coaching clinics for children.

As part of these clinics, the students introduced health advice sessions on a range of topics including HIV/Aids and alcohol misuse.

A further two University of Bath students travel to Zambia on Friday 4 August to take part in the same programme, which is organised through the International Development Through Excellence and Leadership in Sport (IDEALS) initiative by UK Sport, the British Council and the Youth Sports Trust.

A total of three exchanges with Zambia are being held over the remainder of the summer vacation, involving students from Bath and five other universities: Stirling, Loughborough, Durham, Northumbria and UWIC.

“There’s an overwhelming need for projects like this one,” said Jamie Thomson, one of the student volunteers from the University of Bath who has just returned from Zambia.

“Sport can have a real impact on communities in poverty. The project aims to leave a legacy behind for future generations and I am proud to have contributed to that legacy.”

The first batch of University of Bath students, Charlie Twyman (Politics with Economics), and Jamie Thomson, Emma Godlee and Amy Dyer (all Sport & Exercise Science), returned to the UK on 22nd July.

Sally Taylor (final year Biology) and Aled Lloyd (Chemistry for Drug Discovery) fly out to Zambia in the next phase of the programme on Friday 4 August 2006, where they will be joined by Nicky Fossey-Lewis, staff co-ordinator for the project at TeamBath at the University of Bath.

Whilst in Zambia, the students kept in touch with friends, family and colleagues at the University through regular e-mail reports.

In one of the reports, Jamie Thomson, who was based in the Mtendere district at a community school and a local government school, wrote: “The incorporation of HIV and Aids messages has been a key focus of the sessions.

“I have been regularly surprised by the level of the children’s knowledge. The real challenge has been in discussing the problems with HIV preventative methods and attempting to make the children think beyond what they can recite.

“The under-17 Mtendere community football team played their first two matches, recording a draw and a 6-0 victory. There is still a lot to be worked on, but they are shaping up into a good team.

“The relationships being built with the school teachers and with the pupils have become significant.”

Nicky Fossey-Lewis, said: “This is an amazing project for the students to be involved in during their holidays. They are making a real difference to the lives of the children they work with.

“They are working with staff at various outreach centres in Lusaka to spread important messages about key health issues. It is an experience of a lifetime they will never forget.”

The IDEALS Zambia programme is organised with Zambia’s Sport in Action Youth Empowerment Through Sport Programme and EduSport.

The team are still hoping to raise further funds to help support the project, and anyone who would like to contribute can contact Nicky Fossey–Lewis .

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