Madolenihmw High School - Pohnpei, Micronesia
The first ISMP project was inspired by a group of kids living about 6 degrees above the equator and roughly halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines on a small island called Pohnpei, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. On Pohnpei, there is a rural municipality called Madolenihmw, and at Madolenihmw High School, the students LOVE basketball.
The difficulty is that the MHS students need proper equipment in order to maintain their team: they need new basketballs to practice with, basketball sneakers to avoid foot injuries, and jerseys and tournament/transportation fees so that they can compete against other teams in Micronesia.
How much do these kids love basketball? So much that while we were still fundraising (before sneakers and jerseys arrived), kids would opt out of their bus ride home just so that they could come to practice. That's not a small sacrifice when you practice barefoot on concrete for two hours and then need to walk back to your village 5-10 miles away afterwards. The kids didn't care - they just wanted to play.
Since 2014, ISMP supports boys and girls basketball teams at Madolenihmw High School every year by providing them with the equipment they need to play regularly and to compete against other students in Micronesia. The goal is to get these passionate and basketball-loving students to play basketball safely and with pride. In a world that can be difficult to cope with at times, becoming part of a basketball team can have a transformative impact for a child. No one should be turned away from the game of basketball because they don't have a pair of sneakers.
CPAJ Child rehab center, Kigali, Rwanda
The Centre Presbytérien d’Amour des Jeunes (CPAJ) in Kigali, Rwanda is a rehabilitation center for orphans and homeless children that was created in the wake of the devastating Rwanda Genocide to help the new population of highly vulnerable children. CPAJ focuses on keeping children healthy, happy, safe, educated and ready for the world.
ISMP has partnered with CPAJ to create music classes for the kids. Each morning and afternoon, kids sit with volunteer teachers and learn how to play guitar and piano. As classes have progressed, you can find increasingly more kids using the guitars in their free time, outside of the formal classes. Life is not always easy for kids at CPAJ, but the music classes help allow them to enjoy themselves, be creative, and feel more confident.