This week’s blog post is written by PPI-NI’s new intern, Keziah Richards.
My name is Keziah Richards, and I’m excited to have joined PeacePlayers – NI as a short-term intern for the next few months. I came to PeacePlayers – NI through my Master’s program in International Development and Service at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon. I am still amazed to be here; I didn’t expect to find a graduate program that would involve traveling to another country to actively participate with organizations working for change and I’m incredibly excited that it brought me to PeacePlayers.
My graduate program is designed to get students in the field in order to better understand the joys and challenges of implementing development work. I spent my previous school term studying in Thailand with The Dulabhatorn Foundation in Chiang Mai, where I assisted in organizing activities for children with various physical and mental disabilities. It was exciting to see different types of sport activities made accessible to children who tend to be left out.
Coming to Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was excited to see sport being used again, but in a different way. My first introduction to the organization was at the West Belfast Super Twinning Events which brought together participants from Protestant & Catholic schools in West Belfast to play games. There were so many children playing basketball, along with additional games and supportive cheering for each other. The excitement and fun were contagious and I was immediately glad – and maybe a tiny bit nervous – that I had the opportunity to come and discover what goes on here. In the week that I have spent here, I have witnessed kids working together, encouraging and helping each other at Twinnings, as well as participating in important community relations conversations facilitated by their coaches.
During my time here, I hope to learn more about the role of sport in bringing communities together in order to celebrate and understand differences, culminating in a term paper analyzing the needs and concerns of the PeacePlayers – NI demographic, what PeacePlayers does to meet those needs, and any other considerations that should be addressed. I look forward to seeing how my experience here changes me and influences my future.