Jacqueline has lost all her family and fled from the crisis-torn Burundi to Rwanda on her own. A football, is one of the few possessions she brought with her to Rwanda. In Mahama camp, where she found safety and friends, she uses the football and other sport activities to help children to overcome the challenges they face in their daily routine.

QUICK FACTS

In her new “home”, the Mahama refugee camp, Jacqueline works for Save the Children. She trains children of all ages in several sports such as football, basketball and some of the educational and recreational activities. She delivers activities every day of the week. Football is her passion and she takes great pleasure in sharing this with the children in the camp.

JACQUELINE AKIMANA

Project: Rwanda, November 2017 (on-going)

Parent Organization: UNHCR Rwanda

Born: 1992

Nationality: Burundi

Project Rwanda | Facts
Peer Young Coaches
Benefiting Children

MY STORY

“I am originally from Burundi. My parents died when I was still a child. So, I grew up with my three brothers and my sister. I lost one brother from a natural death and the rest were killed during the violent outbreaks in Burundi in 2015. I was only 21 when I decided to flee to Rwanda. I was scared and all alone. It was a long journey to Mahama camp where I live now. I am fortunate to have a little hut for myself and have also found a job. I work as a Community Sport Trainer under the IOC Youth Protection and Sport Project partnership with Save the Children International. The job keeps me busy and working with children is something I really enjoy doing.

Football is my passion. I started playing football when I was 7 years old. Without the care of parents, I was basically an unaccompanied child, playing on the streets. I preferred playing with the boys as I thought that this would make me stronger, help me to protect myself and build greater resilience. At the age of 13, I played in a mixed football team. My coach was a great person. He mentored me, believed in me, and helped me to overcome my isolation. Thanks to him I became the person I am today, being able to socialize and integrate into the community. This helped me settle into a proper life in my new “home” in Mahama Camp, which hosts more than 55,000 refugees. When I arrived, I was alone. But when I took my ball, I easily made friends. The ball is one of the few things I brought with me from Burundi.

I have two big dreams: One is to help children to grow up properly and build resilience to cope with bad situations. I want to be a good role model for them and help them to overcome the obstacles they face in their daily routine. My second dream is to become an international coach. Thanks to the Young Coach Education Programme, I am a step closer toward achieving both dreams.

The training has equipped me with new and valuable knowledge in grassroots football. Now, I understand how to use a holistic approach, where I can mix different games, educational messages and techniques in one football training. Most importantly, I learned how to manage training activities for both, girls and boys.”

GALLERY JACQUELINE

Young Coaches

Our Young Coaches are community leaders and role models in less privileged societies. They commit themselves to support the children of their communities by conveying important social topics (conflict resolution, inclusion, HIV prevention, etc.) through football. Each of the Young Coaches represents a unique personal story.