By Juliette Fore, January 2022
As 2021 has come to a close, I am grateful to reflect upon the one of the most impactful
weeks of my life this past August in Nanyuki, Kenya. As the midday sun blazed down on the
Equator, I grabbed ten wooden chairs and formed a circle. I arrived in Kenya five days earlier focusing on providing a quality education to some of the most marginalized girls in the country, severely impacted by COVID-19. As the girls emerged from their classes, they took their chairs and formed an intimate circle, inviting me in. In this circle, all we needed was a voice, a perspective, and a lived experience to understand why education was our collective lifeline.
During my time in Kenya, I was humbled to be welcomed graciously into the lives of the girls and learn so much from them and how they benefit from programming and organizations such as Replay It. Replay It is a nonprofit founded by a dear friend, Saira Nagda, in Alexandria Virginia, which is dedicated to donating equipment and advocating for girls in sports globally. I was particularly inspired by 15-year-old Theresa, a resilient young woman, born to an abusive household, living in a single room mud hut, where her mother struggled to support her basic needs, let alone education.
After I led my self advocacy workshop, Theresa came up to me and said, “I have a problem. I love futbol (soccer) more than anything, and I am very good. I think I could go to the Olympics. But the boys say we cannot play. They said it is not for girls and they do not let us use the ball on the field ever. What can we do?”
I looked at her and thought to myself, sometimes it is difficult to change peoples minds with just my words alone. Sometimes you need to show them. I walked to the back of our truck where I had a suitcase, and in it was a gently used soccer ball donated by Replay It. I gave Theresa the ball, and I have never seen a smile so big. Replay It was central to realizing this dream of “hope.”
As a I continue my own education next year at Duke University I look forward to supporting the life changing and transformative work of Replay It that is truly changing the
world one piece of equipment at a time.
- Juliette Fore