Over 300 young people between 5 and 17 years of age play sports and learn values thanks to the two socio-sports schools that the Real Madrid Foundation has set up in Senegal together with "Misiones Salesianas", Madrid's Salesian Mission Office.

The “Don Bosco” schools in Thies and Tambacounda host the sports facilities and most of the project's participants come from the Salesian centres. They are two more good examples of education through sport within the 21 socio-sports schools that are part of this sports-educational collaboration for the benefit of young people.

The Don Bosco schools of Thies and Tambacounda are part of the collaboration project of the socio-sports schools that the Real Madrid Foundation started 10 years ago with "Misiones Salesianas", a project now present in 14 countries on three continents, and which helps nearly 4,000 children every year.

The Don Bosco school in Thies.

The Don Bosco school of Thies has 180 participants, while Tambacounda has 135. Twice a week, boys and girls attend sports training sessions. On the other days, the formation is completed by educational reinforcement activities and extra-sporting activities, as well as by sessions that aim to foster good eating and hygiene habits.

The pandemic, with compulsory confinement, upset the plans of the Salesian schools in this past academic year: there was a reduction in activities and a limitation in the number of participants in team sports. However, the accompaniment of children and their families and the distribution of health kits have nevertheless contributed to spreading tranquillity, security and hope among them and in their families.

At the same time, the pandemic has managed to strengthen the values taught in the project and gave testimony of the good work done so far: “During confinement, the children asked us for activities to do at home and we noticed that they became more supportive and responsible.

They listened to the outreach talks and the educational reinforcement paid off. They also offered to take care of the cleaning of the sports fields at the end of the mandatory quarantine period,” explained one of the coaches with satisfaction.

Gradually, activities have resumed their usual rhythm, although hygiene and disinfection measures have been intensified to avoid contagions. What remains stable in the socio-sports schools of the Real Madrid Foundation are the joy and the motto that benefit thousands of vulnerable children all over the world: “they play, we educate”.

This story originally appeared in ANS.