The past few months in America have been filled with emotions and difficult to understand events. So that I can keep my faith in humanity, I look to focus my attention on what makes us human, or at least the choice to act as such. Amidst all the ugly and unfair, my friends and expats (from expatriate temporary aliens) in Uganda, Michelle and Troy Conry have set up an initiative of their own, which I want to support with whatever I can.

Since there has been no boxing club in Entebbe (Uganda city) for two years, Michelle and Troy find a local trainer, rent a small space and start their own. From the beginning, only Troy and a few guys familiar with the coach train. In just a few months, the club becomes a training ground, home and place of inspiration for more than 30 children and youths from 4 to 24. For most of these children, attending the club is a way to learn about famous boxers, symbols of success and achievement that one day they want to achieve. The workouts are serious. The club has its own team that competes at the regional, national and Olympic level hopes. 16 from the 43 team were ranked in the last national competition.

I never knew that boxing in Uganda equals national pride. It is more important as a sport than football. Good boxers have long arms and weak bodies, which is a feature of Uganda's DNA, and for years the state boasts top boxing talents.
Thanks to coach Gilbert, the Busoga Boxing Club has spread to 10 satellite clubs and trained another 60 children. As there are no conditions in the villages, and most of them are 4-5 hours away from Entebbe, each place has its own "captain", responsible not only for the daily training, but also for the overall discipline and development of the children.

© Tina Boyadzhieva

Michelle and I visited one of these villages near Jinja, where a makeshift boxing platform consists of three wooden bars assembled on a frame, on which sandbags filled with sand instead of box pears are tied. Because children do not have boxing gloves, they box in clouds of red dust, without any protection, or at most wrap their hands with rags. One of the children participated in and won a tournament with a broken arm to represent his village at the level of coach and sponsor.

Regardless of the conditions, every child I had the privilege of filming and interviewing told me the same thing - boxing makes them feel free, strong, proud and gives them something to dream about. What they didn't tell me, but I learned from the coach, is that boxing gives them a chance to not become mercenaries in armed groups, not take drugs, or engage in selling them.

© Tina Boyadzhieva

What I want to do for these kids is find used boxing gloves that will be considered a luxury for them. It is not a matter of money or huge campaigns to help a child, encourage him or her to take on a better path in life. And maybe one of those kids will be the future Olympic champion? If anyone would like help with something, contact me for an address in America where aid can be sent. Thanks for the care and support of Gotgloves?

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