Mathare, a collection of slums in Nairobi, Kenya, is a difficult place to grow up. And while sports provide a positive experience for kids in the area, facilities are sparse.
After last year’s World Cup, FIFA chose Mathare as a site for one of 20 “Football for Hope Centers,” facilities that would “promote public health, education, and football in disadvantaged communities across Africa.” But there was one problem: The stadium didn’t have lights, meaning the young athletes had to train under the blistering sun, or struggle to see the ball at night.
Now, China’s Yingli Green Energy Holding Company has outfitted the Mathare field with a solar-powered stadium lights. With the lights, youth teams can use the pitch well into the evenings, when the sun has gone down and it’s safer to be playing soccer than hanging out in the streets.
The Mathare stadium is the only Kenyan sports facility outside of Nairobi with flood lights. As one young player told AFP, “I didn’t think I would ever have a chance to play in a field like this. But the centre has made us believe in ourselves and think we can do even better and that good things will come.”