Basketball a gateway to a better life for Ugandan teens
Denver – After 22 years of war in Northern Uganda, one Denver attorney is pushing hard to make a difference in the lives of children through the game of basketball.
“Basketball for them is something to give them an opportunity to have a space of their own and a positive experience as they work through all those post war issues they have,” said Atim Otti, the organizer of the non-profit group Gulu Go.
The group, based in Denver, addresses the issue of some of Uganda’s underprivileged female population, by providing them with an opportunity to learn sports and participate in leadership development programs. The program is celebrating its fifth year and for the first time is encouraging Denver youth to participate through a basketball training camp.
“I still need to work on my lay-ups a little,” said one participant who braved the 90-degree heat to play in the new program.
Organizers are pushing hard for more participation because in Uganda, most female youth are not allowed to participate in extra-curricular sports, especially sports.
“A girl within our targeted age range of 8-21 usually must stay at home to attend house chores such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of younger siblings,” according to a press release from Gulu Go.
Six coaches, five from Colorado, will travel to Uganda at the end of June to conduct the basketball workshop. Girls are expected not only to learn about the game but about teamwork, responsibility, and communication.
“Truly basketball is something that’s helped me throughout my entire life and in career, and in going to law school and becoming an attorney,” added Otti.