Blog Tanzania

Scoring On and Off the Field



Every Monday and Thursday afternoon Coach Uncle Masia switches into one of his favorite jerseys, straps duffle bags stuffed with cleats and footballs to his bicycle, and heads off to the practice field.

Masia, the all-purpose driver, gardener, repairman, mentor and more for the help2kids Children’s Home, also serves as a coach for the Bajeviro Rainbows Football Team.

As he passes by Bajeviro Primary School, help2kids volunteers – such as his “assistant coach” Marvin – and various Bajeviro students often join him on his trip to the field. 


Once the parade of helpers and players have arrived, more students soon begin rushing down the hill toward the field in waves, eagerly sifting through bags for the perfect pair of cleats. After jumping out of their school uniforms and into their practice gear, the players get warmed up with some stretches and drills.



The team, comprised of 38 students, holds practice twice a week and their excitement is fostered by their coaches: Uncle Masia and Mama Lucy, both of whom work at the help2kids Children’s Home. The coaches love football and the kids love them.

“They’re not just coaches teaching football,” Marvin said. “They’re building a ‘team’ as well.”

Coach Uncle Masia, who has played football since he was in primary school, and Coach Mama Lucy know there is more to sports than the game on the field.



“We’re trying to teach the kids good values for their whole life,” Masia said, “not just football.”


This sentiment is echoed by Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary-General. At the latest International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, Ban stressed the impact sport can have in personal development, fostering equality, and building new connections based on respect.

Luke Dowdney of Fight for Peace, also details how the strength of sports is their ability to reach kids and inspire them to achieve great feats. This can motivate them to succeed in all aspects of life.

Instilling these positive values is not always an easy task, but Masia says he appreciates the balance Mama Lucy brings to their co-coaching- especially because boys and girls from Standard 5 through Standard 7 at Bajeviro Primary School compete together on the team.

The female players have a relatable role model in Coach Mama Lucy who goes toe-to-toe with Coach Uncle Masia, demonstrating her strength, skill, and drive.





During the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer, Women Deliver, an international NGO advocating for girls’ and women’s rights around the globe, was backed by UNICEF and organizations like GAIN, Right to Play, and One Goal, in a social media campaign that used the hashtag ‘GirlsCan’ to show the power and potential of girls.

The Bajeviro Rainbows hold co-ed practices and while watching a player wearing a skirt and hijab score against her male peer shows it’s evident that the girls possess great strength, there isn’t much dialogue on the role of gender in the practice dynamic.


Mona Lisa, a center back for the Rainbows, enjoys the makeup of the team but says she doesn’t put too much thought into the fact that practices are co-ed.

“It is about playing with people that will help you get better,” she said. For her, it’s just important to be surrounded by other players that challenge and motivate her to do her best, regardless of gender.




Both Coach Mama Lucy and Coach Uncle Masia strive to invest in the players overall development. The team gives students a fun after-school activity, but also builds relationships between classmates outside of school hours and develops skills they can apply to their daily lives.


“I like the team because it also helps us with our studies,” Mona Lisa said, “especially when the coaches give us exercises that help us not only on the field but also at home.”

Mona Lisa’s work on the field has taught her how to balance her classes and football practice, while acting as a motivator as well. She has moved to the top of her class in Standard 7 and her teachers have taken notice of the impact joining the Rainbows has had on her.


“It’s good that they are getting exercise time in, especially since they love football,” Mr. Jesco, English and History teacher, said. “And it’s even better because the kids on the team perform well on the field and in the classroom.” The players learn discipline, time management skills, and how to work towards a goal.

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While the students do get a good deal of time playing with each other and honing their skills, they are also looking for something more.

“Every day the kids are asking, ‘Uncle Masia, what about a real game?’” the coach said. “It would be very good if we could get a donation for transportation. We could play around and outside of Dar Es Salaam, against other teams.”

Currently, the team can only hold scrimmages against each other rather than playing other teams.

The Rainbows recently received a generous donation to purchase new jerseys for the team and would like to show them off – as well as their skills – at other schools in the area. Without reliable transportation for the kids and clean water to bring along, Masia says they are limited to just practices.


Masia has high hopes for the future of the team, but he values the interactions at the end of each practice the most. After a scrimmage with all of the kids and volunteers, the children all chat as they change back into their school uniforms before heading home.

“After we finish practice,” Masia said, “we talk about our play on the field, ask how our days were, and connect with each other.”

Here Masia has the opportunity to observe how the players have grown as people, and ensure he has taught them positive lessons.

Before it gets too dark, the kids pack up their backpacks and help Coach Uncle Masia strap up the team’s gear to his bike as he prepares to drop it back off at the Children’s Home. Everyone heads home dirty, tired, and excited for the next practice.



To donate to the Bajeviro Rainbows, click the donate button below, click Tanzania, Education Projects, and type Sports Program: Bajeviro Rainbows under “Other info.” Thank you!