“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life. Sports are a microcosm of society.” — Billie Jean King
Her comment cuts through to the true nature of all sport. Sports brings out everything that is the worst and the best in us. It brings out our true spirit – grit, courage, grace, empathy and so much more – hidden by the many layers of our personality. But it’s about who we are and what we can do; no matter your ethnicity, gender, caste. It’s about achieving something exclusively on merit. It’s about walking the talk.
For GlobalGiving Project Leader Tommy Clarke, it’s a way to create incredible social change in Zimbabwe. A former pro football player Tommy Clarke came up with an extraordinary idea – he was going to turn around the tide on AIDS amongst youth in Africa, beginning with Zimbabwe. And he was going to do it by getting them to play soccer – a ubiquitous passion even in the most impoverished areas. Today, nearly 23% more youth now understand the importance of using condoms than they did before. “Now we know we can cure HIV/AIDS with our knowledge and power.” Susan Bulaya, 15 year old recipient of Tommy’s program.
Tommy Clarke isn’t the lone visionary to understand the power of sports as a way to influence and alter behavior, establish new ways to communicate, to empower and heal. Click here to read about another outstanding social entrepreneur who is using sports to provide solutions to challenges like women’s right and HIV/AIDS, youth unemployment.
And guess what? You can support these amazing social entrepreneurs win the Ashoka Changemakers competition! Click here to vote for GlobalGiving Project Leaders Tommy (Grassroots Soccer), Matt (Partners of the Americas), Sarah (Kilifi) and Trevor (Kids League).