Between 2007 - 2017, ATA appealed for and distributed donations of tennis, sports equipment and books - super cool!
It first started collecting anything tennisy in early 2007 as part of a 10 month build up to a 5 month gap year trip to Ghana, West Africa to teach underprivileged communities how to play tennis as a volunteer with Sporting Opportunities who help deprived communities all over the world through sports and non sports orientated projects.
Humanitarian topics in African countries make us aware of the realism of poverty and deprivation that people in the Third World face everyday, if we choose to recognise it.
Knowing how scarce equipment would be, a major obstacle for anything in Africa [you'll rarely find a child who can afford their own pair of shoes] and with tennis - balls lose their bounce, racket strings break and you kinda need proper shoes to play a proper game. So what could be done to help?
Then came this great idea.....
A past volunteer of the Sporting Opportunities programme Lucy Mills, had returned from her epic trip to Ghana as a volunteer coaching Football to deprived communities. She had had some amazing opportunities and had made a worthwhile difference to the children and individuals she worked with out there at the Right To Dream Football Academy. She had formulated an appeal 'Ghana Football Aid' collecting football strips, balls and boots from home to take out and distribute to the deprived communities - her suggestion......why don't you do the same with Tennis?
What a great idea!
Inspired by her suggestion and the probability that it could just work, ‘Ghana Tennis Aid’ was locally set up in association with the Sporting Opportunities organisation and UK Charity Tennis For Free acting as ambassadors on their behalf. Fortunately, news of the appeal appeared in UK tennis magazines, the internet and local newspapers; appealing to the public and sports companies to sponsor money and to donate unused tennis/sports equipments towards the community in Africa.
Tennis For Free and Amer Sports donated brand new rackets and balls from their sponsors and as a result, the appeal appeared on a local South London Radio Station 'Radio Jackie' which prompted local tennis clubs to collect unused rackets and coaching equipment. In addition, local sports shops, UK charity Save The Children and Sutton Tennis Academy donated tennis clothing for the appeal too!
Where in Africa has the appeal helped?
Blimey, so with all these generous tennis donations piling up - it wasn't all going to fit in a suitcase of someone with a plane ticket........
Special Thanks goes to visiting individuals and the incredibly generous assistance of Taysec Construction Ltd and Robert Claire & Co. Ltd UK Freight Services for the shipping of this much needed equipment which made it all possible in the past. You rock!
Alot of the stuff collected from the appeal was taken or shipped to the communities where 'Sporting Opportunities'placed volunteers at The National Sports College, Winneba, Accra, and a local orphanage in Accra.
Italian based charity Tennis For Africa auction signed memorabilia and fundraise from tennis events for projects in Africa. One of their projects is to start children playing tennis at a school in Bo, Sierra Leone where rackets, balls, clothing, tennis nets have been donated from the appeal
UK Charity Daniels Promise helped orphaned children who were living in dilapidated orphanage in Kampala, Uganda. In 2008, 2009 and 2011, the charity's founder Denise Gwatkin visited Uganda with tennis equipment and introduced the game to children who had never picked up a racket before. The charity aims to aid Daniel, who has been helping children for years, to keep his orphanage going and to buy a plot of land to build a boarding school - ain't that cool! The appeal donated a tennis net and tennis balls from local tennis clubs to go to Daniel's orphanage