In the third week of our Building Each Other Up Series, we are celebrating Moving The Goalposts (MTG) participant and coach, Abigail. MTG uses soccer as a unique power to unlock the potential of disadvantaged girls and young women. MTG is an incredible organization and we have been humbled to work with them as one of our core mission partners.
Abigail Pendo Kaingu, 22
What is your earliest memory of soccer?
I was 17 years old at the time. I remember watching my peers play and they made it seem like football was a very rough sport, therefore, I only wanted to play with my close family members since I trusted them not to injure me.
What is your current role in soccer (teammate, coach, or both)?
I’m currently a coach, thanks to the training I received from Moving The Goalposts (MTG). I coach high school students.
How do you position yourself in that role to be a role model for those in your community?
Through my coaching, I hope to educate other girls on the importance of education. I would like them to understand that even if one gets pregnant while in school, they still have a chance to continue with their education and provide a better future for their children.
Who/what is your greatest inspiration?
My greatest inspiration is an MTG alumni called Esther Baya. Baya is a member of MTG staff and a former beneficiary of the program, who was at the time working in the Bamba division. She held my hand when I was going through a very rough time in my life, and encouraged me to join MTG. Initially, I did not like her but she was persistent and understanding of my situation. I’m forever grateful for her because she changed my perception of life and made me realize that getting pregnant while young was not the end of the world.
Abigail got pregnant in 2015 while in secondary school and was forced to drop out of school and nurse her baby. She eventually went back and completed school.
What is something about yourself that you’re proud of, and that you use as a way to set a positive example for others? (i.e. what is your superpower?)
Thanks to Baya and MTG, I’m more confident now and very optimistic about the future. I’m not ashamed of being a young mother. I’ve learnt to accept myself and my situation.
Can you tell me about a time that you’ve used that superpower/quality to build up and inspire the girls around you, on or off the field?
I’ve been able to encourage other girls to join MTG. Young mothers are inspired by my confidence and believe that they, too, can become more confident and positive about their futures, despite their situations.
Tell me about a teammate that has helped strengthen you to the person you are today. Are they older or younger than you? What is it about them that inspires you?
Wilma Kazungu (a trainer for coaches and former beneficiary of the MTG program), who is older than me and was my former classmate in the Tackle Africa program, really pushed me to be more vocal in class and speak up for myself. Otherwise no one would really know about the challenges that I was going through.
What is your best piece of advice for girls of any age?
I would like to advise those in school to understand the importance of education and take it seriously. I would also like to advise them to set goals in life and work hard towards achieving them. I also would like them to know that it's in their interest to choose their friends wisely. They can be the reason why you succeed or fail in achieving your life goals. Finally, I would like to encourage girls from poor backgrounds like myself to accept their situation and use it as fuel to drive them into a better future.
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