05 Sep 2018

Escorted by Shirley Kamanah, the Superintendent of the Rehabilitation Youth Centre in Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Mauritius; the visit of distinguished guests was brief but most worthwhile, one that caused great excitement for the eight local teenage inmates.

The visitors were Steve Dainton, ITTF Chief Executive Officer and Leandro Olvech, ITTF Foundation Director, alongside Cédric Rouleau, the Technical Director of the Mauritius Table Tennis Association and Sarah Hanffou, the President and Founder of Ping sans Frontières.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

They were present to popularize table tennis and use the sport to teach values. It was an initiative that delighted Shirley Kamanah.

“I have been working in this centre for 11 years and I have seen many lives changed; most of these children are from broken homes so they are sent here on the order for the court for 21 days remand; after this they will return to their various homes. For the girls, we are focusing more on the adolescent because they are very vulnerable at this time to get pregnant; when they come to the centre we teach them skills that will be useful to themselves and families.”

Furthermore, Shirley Kamanah is clear in her beliefs that sport influences discipline, vital to learning life skills.

“Our focus is on vocation and this we have been doing for years. Some of our former students are now working and earning money for themselves. The goals for us are to ensure that we mould the children and get them back to their families. We only admit children aged nine to 18 years. The challenge for us is that after 18 years of age, we are not allowed by law to take charge of them. So our hope is that they will get back to their families; this place is just like a home to see if they can change for good.” Shirley Kamanah

Positive word from Shirley Kamanah; likewise, both Steve Dainton and Leandro Olvech were in accord. They supported the view that the Centre was playing a vital role in moulding the characters of young people and was putting into practice a goal of the International Table Tennis Federation, to provide a meaningful activity for young people and divert attention from social vices.

“The ITTF Foundation has the mission to promote solidarity and peace through table tennis, make our sport available for everyone, everywhere. For that reason we are glad to partner initiatives like this worldwide; also to involve elite athletes in our projects in order to make them role models for the youth.” Leandro Olvech

Meanwhile, for Sarah Hanffou, working alongside Cédric Rouleau; the visit was very much a starting point.

“It is just the beginning of a long lasting mutual relationship with centres like this and we are going to give them one table and other table tennis equipment. The Mauritius Table Tennis Association will also try to put in place regular training for the centre. We at Ping sans Frontières will support initiatives like this to use table tennis to promote world peace and cordial co-existence in the world.” Sarah Hanffou

Give young people a meaningful activity; you give young people a chance of a better life, it is that simple. In Mauritius theory is being put into practice.

2018 ITTF African Championships: Newsletter – Monday 3rd September

2018 ITTF African Championships: Newsletter – Tuesday 4th September

2018 ITTF African Championships: Newsletter – Wednesday 5th September

2018 African Championships Steve Dainton Sarah Hanffou Leandro Olvech Cédric Rouleau Shirley Kamanah

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Day 7 - 2018 ITTF Africa Championships