Vision Changers: Using Table Tennis for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation
Hope Kwa Vijana Mtaani, initiated by Vision Changers Kenya, is one of the Dream Building Fund 2021 projects. The three-year project aims to reach 1,000 reformed youths and Juveniles to constructively use their time while reducing stress, enhancing social development, and increasing employment opportunities. They integrate table tennis as a rehabilitation tool and crime prevention strategies for juvenile offenders.
Hope Kwa Vijana Mtaani in Swahili means Hope to youths in the slums. Young people make up the majority of prisoners in Kenya. Based on 2020 statistics, from a total of 29,306, about 14,000 were between the ages of 26 and 50. Even though Kenya offers free primary education (FPE), most are street kids who have quit school or are forced into the streets by poverty.
Vision Changers Kenya initiated this project in 2021 to address social justice issues dissected through rights, governance, and livelihood. They aim to change the behaviour of 1,000 reformed youths and Juveniles in Nairobi using the power of table tennis, which contributes to UN (United Nations) Sustainable Goals 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.
Vision Changers Kenya works with Mukuru Kwa Reuben Informal settlement and Kariobangi Informal settlement to deliver table tennis-based rehabilitation and integration programme for reformed juveniles.
They apply table tennis training to raise awareness and acceptance while addressing risks and consequences associated with negative behaviour leading to crime among adolescent children in the community.
In September, Vision Changers Kenya commenced its project by sensitising through theatre. They call it Magnetic Theatre, a community theatre that presents performances in the open air to engage audiences in conversation and problem-solving while examining topics that affect the neighbourhood.
Moving forward, Hope Kwa Vijana Mtaani initiative will roll out regular table tennis tournaments and fun table tennis along with supervision, counselling, and dialogue forums to prepare for the reintegration of reformed youths and juveniles into society.