It was one year a go that Siiqqee Women’s Development Association in collaboration with Girls Gotta Run Foundation launched “Athletic Girls Scholarship and Women Saving group” project in Bokoji the cradle of known athletes. The objective of the project is to support girls from the destitute families who have interest in athletics while pursuing their education as an alternative career for them and for the country.
The girls were selected from Bokoji junior high school to begin with based on the set criteria. Hence, the pilot project commenced with 20 girls meeting the criteria. Currently, there are 40 girls for in the project from Bokoji and Tigil Fire junior high schools. The project also organized the mothers and guardians of these athletic girls into Self Help Group and provided them with saving concept to generate their household income to support their families. Currently there are 120 destitute women organized in to Six Self Help Groups with significant savings to let them take loan and begin their own small business. Most of them have started generating their own income which they did not have prior to the launching of the project.
Fatiya Abdi (Coach)
She came to visit her sister who was living in Shirka about 20 kms from Bokoji. At her early age, she was fascinated to athletics by the known athletes and started practicing for marathon with a very good performance until health turned against her. She remembers with anguish the days she quitted formal practice and preparation for competition to join higher clubs for further endeavor, for the national and international race due to problem she faced with her legs.
Currently, she is a coach for the athletic girl scholarship and training 40 promising girls. From the 20 Girls who joined the program last year and practicing for eight months, one of the girls known Kalkidan, have won a competition organized in Bokoji among similar groups and already joined a club. This shows that the coach is making a progress in preparing athletes for the national athletics team and contributing a lot.
We hope that those who began with her and succeeded will provide her support and backups for her future endeavor in this stream.
She was one of the targeted girls in the project a year ago. Kalkidan was selected to be part of the project to pursue her education through the athletics girls scholarship program for destitute but promising girls both in academic stream and athletics and hence, participate in the athletics based on her interest to become an educated athlete. She said that she was eagerly doing the training and studying hard for the past eight months. Hence, a golden opportunity was at the door at the end of the summer vacation which turned the curve of her life. She said
“I heard that an athletic competition was to take place in Bokoji by Coach Sintayehu among similar athletics having the same training and performance. Hence, I asked to compete and allowed to take part. Then, surprisingly, I won the competition with a very good time and stood first. Then, I was selected to be in a camp to practice for higher level and as the same pursue my education”.
To the question how she felt the change, she replied that it ignited hope to become like one of the known athletes Bokoji had produced. She extended gratitude to Siiqqee Women’s Development Association and Girls Gotta Run Foundation for the chance and also extended heartfelt thanks to coach Fatiya Abdi for her tedious effort to help her achieve thus far. She also wished the same for her colleagues in the program to participate in competition and become successful like her for their future career.