Religious miracles aside, PPI-CY decided to head down to Kiti and begin a basketball team for a different reason. Kiti is a rich community with many bright children, but they do not have opportunities to play organized basketball. After the events of 1974, a refugee settlement was set up in Kiti, doubling the village’s inhabitants. Today, many of the kids in the village are the children of the refugees that never left.
PPI-CY first learned about the village from Antonia, a coach for AEK, a basketball academy in Larnaca. After reaching out to her during last summer’s PeacePlayers Summer Camp, she expressed interest in starting a basketball team in Kiti, next door to her hometown of Mazodos.
The next step involved PeacePlayers going down to the primary school of the village to meet the Headmaster and some of the PE teachers. After explaining PeacePlayers’ mission, the school decided to let us and coach Antonia come in during the week to do some special basketball practices for over 100 students. Many of the kids enjoyed it so much they decided to start attending weekly practices with Antonia.
Since then, the Kiti team has grown to over 24 girls. The team is getting so large, that we are considering opening up a second team in the same village. It is a great success story already, and we can’t wait to get the girls to our next basketball tournament in December.