“Sport is a unique tool to improve society.”– Pere Miro, the deputy director general for relations with the Olympic Movement.

About 51% of the Mozambican population is under the age of 18, according to UNICEF statistics. Introducing this large number of children to a more sustainable way of living and building can both improve their lives drastically and help the planet. By showing them that beautiful things can be made by using local and recycled materials, we can foster a generation that will show an interest in continuing this work. We can inspire people to take care of their environment and at the same time gain from it. We can’t just talk about this theoretically — we must show and inspire the local children to want to use these materials. After all, if there is value in waste and it can benefit us, why not use it!

Playing outside is not just about letting off steam. We can remember the joy we felt when playing as children. Maybe it was participating in a sport, having fun with singing games, or just throwing rocks into the water. Childhood shapes us into adults, and playing is an important part of that development.

Playing helps children develop physical strength, coordination, and balance. But it can also provide opportunities for learning and development, including:

    • Social skills: When children play with others, they learn about respect and how to communicate, share, collaborate, and empathize.
    • Imagination and creativity: Outside play is often open-ended, so children learn how to be creative about what games are played and how to play them.
    • Thinking and problem-solving skills: As children assess risks and tackle new challenges, they learn about persistence and perseverance and the success those attributes can bring.
    • Sense of self: As they master new skills, children improve their competence and confidence in their own physical and social abilities.
    • Sense of connection: Playing outside fosters a greater connection to place, to peers, and to their local community and environment.
    • Self-care skills: Managing physical and social challenges helps children learn how to be safe.

Project Vita is working to aid youth development by building play areas for children of all ages using recycled and local materials. It is important for us to let children and older youth participate in our projects. If we can inspire this generation to use recycled and local materials to build beautiful and functional things, they may grow up taking better care of our planet — and teach others as well.