The 2016 team of Cardiff Met Zambia Project participants have completed their fundraising challenges and are ready to take on their African adventure. After organising and hosting a range of events including a duck race, swimathon and a T20 cricket tournament, the team of five students also completed their own individual sporting challenges to raise the funds needed to support the project.
Every summer, Cardiff School of Sport select five undergraduate student volunteers to work in some of the most deprived areas of Zambia for 6 weeks. The project is designed to help make a difference to the lives of children in Zambia, and brings together student volunteers from 7 universities across the UK to work with communities in and around the nation's capital Lusaka. The 7 universities are represented under the Wallace Group.
Selected students are asked to create a fundraising plan and put it into action in order to raise money for the Zambia Project. A level 6 Sports Marketing and Event Management module is also offered to wider Cardiff School of Sport students, and requires students to organise, plan and review an event of their own - the proceeds of which, go towards the Zambia Project. Events organised this year included a silent auction, a bar Olympics event and a FIFA football tournament. A total of £908.20 was raised by this year's Sports Marketing and Event Management students.
Sport Management and Sport Development Lecturer at Cardiff Met, Sara Nicholes said: "The challenge of raising funds to support the Zambia Project, is one which allows our students to put theory into practice and learn a lot about the numerous elements involved in planning, promoting and executing a successful fundraising event. The level 6 Sports Marketing and Event Management module provides a great opportunity for students to manage their own projects and be both creative and practical in the way they approach the fundraising challenge."
First year Sports and Exercise Science student Jo Williams, who is also a member of the Welsh Rugby Union Youth board will depart for Zambia later this month. She said: "I have learned a huge amount through this experience, before I even get to Zambia. The fundraising challenge really made me think about how I could do something different to raise money. It became clear exactly how much is involved in arranging an event and how being organised and working as part of a team are so important.
"We all tried to use our own networks to ask for favours and donations to the cause. The saying, 'if you don't ask, you don't get', definitely stands true and this became clear throughout the planning process. We were amazed at the generosity of some businesses and really pleased that so many people were happy to support our events."
The first Cardiff Met students departed for Luaska last week. Working in teams, students organise and run a wide range of sporting activities, workshops, and aids awareness sessions using donated sporting equipment from various organisations in the United Kingdom. The programme focuses on the positive impact sport can have in communities blighted with unemployment, poverty, and HIV/AIDS.
Sara Nicholes, who also helps to coordinate the Zambia Project on behalf of the School of Sport said:
"The Zambia Project is in its 11th year of running here at Cardiff Met and it is a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop a huge range of skills, while making a very real and positive contribution to people's lives. The experience is life-changing for many of our students taking part and the impact on individuals can be huge. Our students often come home with very powerful stories about the people they have met and the lives they have affected."
Second year Sports Coaching student Jess Brown also departs for Zambia later this month. She said: "I know of a few people who have previously been a part of the Zambia Project and talked very highly of it. After taking a year out and coaching football in America, I had the confidence to go ahead and apply for the project.
"I'm really looking forward to meeting and spending time with the locals within their community and experiencing a complete culture exchange. It's a great opportunity for me to experience life around the same sport but in a totally different environment.
"I know that I will be challenged daily, from food shopping, language barriers, tackling local transport, coaching a session of 40 kids, living with a new bunch of people and all within the African heat. I'm confident it will be an invaluable experience allowing myself to develop as a coach, individual and hopefully provide a safe place for the local children to enjoy what sport can bring."
Coaching & Workforce Development Officer at Sport Cardiff, Gareth Power is this year's School of Sport Staff Member and will be heading out to Zambia to join the project in August. Gareth has previously worked on similar aid-related projects in South Africa and is thrilled to be supporting this year's project.