Nirvana in Kenya
By Eugenia Moskowitz
The annual summer Nirvana 360 soccer organization’s trip to bring soccer, scholastic, and other materials to Kenyan schoolchildren by directors and coaches Jennifer and Robert Czumak and Kennedy Cheruiyot began last week when the trio, along with assistants Cody and David Gao, and Ashlie, Rose and Lilian Bauman, traveled across the Maasai Mara National Reserve to Cheruiyot’s hometown in the Rift Valley. A soccer tournament was held at Kap Koi school while soccer and yoga were brought to girls at the Maria Soti all-girls school.
The tournament had four girls’ and four boys’ teams competing and was supported by students as boys cheered on the girls, who were empowered during their first-ever match.
In an area where girls’ sports and its associated positive physical, emotional, and intellectual ramifications are not traditionally seen as very useful in girls’ lives, Nirvana has stated that it seeks to promote girls’ general advancement in self-determination by involving not only the school leadership but the local surrounding community, showing the families of girls what sport can bring to, and pragmatically benefit, their self-determination and their futures. Nirvana’s belief is that by raising the status of girls, the entire community moves forward.
Nirvana 360 is located in New Windsor and serves area soccer players. Jennifer Czumak is also an art teacher and a girls varsity coach in the Washingtonville Central School District.
CAPTION 1: These boys’shirts say it proudly — determined.
CAPTION 2: In the Rift Valley, a single rest stop serves multiple needs.
CAPTION 3: Some of the children at the Maria Soti school.
CAPTION 4: Jennifer Czumak during the tournament at Kap Koi school.
More photos in this week’s Orange County Post