This past week PeacePlayers Cyprus worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Education in Cyprus in the city of Limassol to help run a day filled with water sports and fun with the Nautical Organization of Ammohostos. The event hosted 140 5th and 6th grade school children from the 4th and 18th schools of Agios Antonios. Starting in the Fall of 2012 the Ministry of Education will begin a relationship with PeacePlayers and sponsor practices in Limassol twice a week for the children in order to allow PPI coaches to provide structure and basketball training to the schools.
The 4th and 18thschools of Agios Anotnios are part of the Zones of Educational Priority (ZEP). The ZEP are programs established by The Ministry of Education and Culture in order to “promote tolerance and dialogue in order to eliminate stereotypes through education.” According to The Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus the ZEP serves to “promote tolerance and dialogue” and was established “in order to eliminate stereotypes through education.” Many schools in the ZEP host children who have grown up in difficult environments and have faced economic and social adversity. A relationship between PeacePlayers, the Ministry of Education in Cyprus, and the children of the schools of Agios Antonios is a step towards helping to alleviate the hardships and bring about social change.
The day was filled with activities on the beach and in the water. The children were given opportunities to learn to sail, row, kayak, play football, volleyball, and water polo. School teachers from the schools assisted the PPI staff to make the day a series of smooth transitions as assigned teams of kids moved from one sport station to the next. The children covered in sand and soaked in water ran back and forth from sailboat to canoe and from volleyball court to soccer field. Though the day did not see PeacePlayer’s bread and butter, the poetic sport of basketball, with the help of the Ministry of Education is became obvious that any sports were beneficial and fun for those participating. As one looked up and down the seemingly endless stretch of sand and blue water our group of kids were some of the few people who had sails, oars, and kayaks. A wonderful opportunity, the day proved to be a unique experience that is just a first step towards fostering a positive relationship with the schools of Agios Antonios.