The MTC International Day of the Girl Child Girls Soccer Tournament under the theme, Nothing For Girls Without the Girls, End Child Marriages Now, held today, October 16th, at Nhedziwa, Chimanimani, Zimbabwe was a roaring success. It was indeed a day bubbling with uncertainty, palpable tension, and eruptions of pure joy for teams that made it past the tough group stages to march to the finals. What a day!
Six community-based clubs from the Chimanimani rural area were invited to participate and later, a seventh guest team from Murehwa, Rozaria Memorial Trust Girls meant the stakes went a notch up. Chiramba Blue Dragons, Rowa - Eastville, Bumba, Wengezi, and the hosts, MTC Sirens of Nhedziwa knew they had to up their game to match their ambitious guests led by the skillful Anna -Mercy Matedza who famously led her team to the inaugural RMT Girls Soccer championship back in 2017. Two junior teams from MTC Sirens and Mhandarume squared off in the championship match where a trophy was the prize.
On offer were individual medals as well as other medals for Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Most Disciplined Player and Golden Boot award, and the big one: the championship shield! We had a tie on top goal scorers that was shared between Anna Mercy Muradzi from Rozaria Memorial Trust and Yolanda Shuwa from MTC.Sirens, Golden Glove went to Rozaria Memorial Trust. The most Disciplined player award went to Cecilia Munjoma from MTC Junior Sirens The Hon Member of Parliament handed the girls their silverware,
There was heartbreak for the hosts as they could not proceed to the final in the senior category as they were eliminated by more seasoned Mhandarume Queens. In the end, Mhandarume Queens faced off against the guest team, Rozaria Memorial Trust Girls in the final. Panashe Matesva struck early in the first half and no further goals were scored, handing the big prize to the team from Murehwa.
As hosts, it hurt to lose the senior match before our own fans but despite this heartbreak, our message of ending child marriages was the day's biggest winner. Thanks to our sponsors, all players and dignitaries received t-shirts challenging them to "Dream Big!" and to "End Child Marriages Now!"
There was a measure of consolation in the junior category championship match where MTC Sirens juniors eased past Mhandarume juniors 2-0.
Despite the limited time, speaker after speaker reiterated the importance of education for all girls and the need to fight together to end child marriages. Guest of honor Mrs. Saliwe Mtetwa-Zakariya also donated sanitary wear to all the girls who had participated courtesy of her own non-profit, Talia Women's Network. The evening saw girls from MTC . Rowa Eastville, and Rozaria Memorial Trust participate in Nhanga, a cultural innovation crafted by RMT to empower adolescence around issues of sexual and reproductive health education, mental health, accessing services, child marriages, harmful cultural practices, and using the arts to support girls.
MTC Educate A Girl is genuinely grateful for the support from our sponsors, Dream Big, Connect Her, Wisconsin Women Soccer Advisory Council, Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association, Royal Fencing, and Keeper Goals. We will continue to push for more inclusive policies and practices in girls' education, empowerment, and sport. As MTC founder Maka Chikowero said in her video message to the girls attending the tournament, "the future is young, the future is bright and the future is female!-
Following the much-publicized death of 14-year-old Memory Machaya on July 15th, 2021, allegedly at a Johane Marange Apostolic sect shrine in Manicaland, Zimbabwe, MTC Foundation has joined other rights organizations and concerned citizens across the world to speak up against the abuse of girl children by churches and religious sects. Media reports suggest that Memory was forced to drop out of school in Mhondoro and join her mother in Marange, where she was raped, impregnated, and then denied medical care during childbirth, leading to her death. As MTC Foundation, we are sending a clear message that the adults involved must be held liable for the trafficking, rape, denial of medical care, and the death of this child. We strongly support the sustained pressure which has seen the Zimbabwe Republic Police launching its investigations into this and other cases of child sexual abuse and child marriages that the Johane Marange Apostolic sect is being accused of. As part of our initiative to press the government and its responsible agencies to uphold the law which bans "marriages" of children under the age of 18 and prosecute abusers, MTC Foundation members across the world have added their voices to the cause through the #JusticeForMemory campaign. Here are some of the posters that MTC Foundation members and allies have produced.
MTC Equipment Drive a Huge Success! Sunday, July 11, 2021, Chicago Red Stars FC launched an upcycling drive named Go Green Initiative to get fans to donate their gently-used soccer cleats during the Red Stars v Houston Dash match. The Red Stars had identified MTC Foundation as one of the beneficiaries. Maka Chikowero, founder of MTC Foundation, was one of the winners of the 2020 #SheInspiresMe Award. The award recognizes student-athletes who use their platform as athletes to bring positive change to their communities. We are proud that Chicago Red Stars continue to help make soccer more accessible to girls, especially those in rural parts of Africa where the sport is often a preserve for boys and the equipment lacking. The athletic shoes and soccer cleats will be shared with girls and women’s soccer teams in rural Zimbabwe. Thank you, Chicago Red Stars!
Maka was on hand to symbolically receive a pair of soccer cleats at halftime during the Red Stars v Houston Dash match. She thanked the club of showing faith in her organization’s ability to help make soccer more accessible to girls via the donation.
MTC Educate A Girl Inc continues to spread its message of keeping orphaned girls in school and involving girls from rural communities in sport. On Friday, March 26, 2021, four MTC volunteers drove for an hour and a half south-east of Harare to Mhondoro Ngezi, a rural community where most families are subsistence farmers. At Gavhunga Secondary School, our team was welcomed by school leaders for a handover ceremony of two soccer kits. Four girls recently recruited into the MTC scholarship program at the school also received school uniforms and school supplies. “This is such a wonderful gift to our school. As you can see, everyone is very excited to know about MTC Foundation and to hear about the great work that Maka Chikowero is doing. We are truly grateful and our teams can’t wait to use this soccer equipment. The girls who received scholarships are similarly grateful and we will work to ensure their success,” said Mr. Mutembwa, the school head. From there, our team proceeded to Gavhunga Primary School where a lively group of girls gathered to welcome them. Following a brief handover ceremony, the messages of appreciation were shared by girls and their teachers. “This is a gift of love. Please tell Maka that through this gift, she will change the lives of many of us here at Gavhunga,” the girl’s team captain said.
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