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Prince: “I feel good now. My life is okay now.”

December 11th, 2023

15-year-old Prince lives with his mother and four siblings in Umoja, Kenya. Life became unbearable for Prince when school closed during the pandemic, leading him to work in the quarry mines to help supplement the family's income. He was able to return to school and with the support from the "Time to Play" project, he has found a sense of joy and purpose in playing football and nurturing his skills.

Prince playing football with his friends
Prince playing football with his friends

Family life

Prince is the third born in his family. His grandparents live in the nearby area and he gets a chance to visit them often. Sadly, Prince's father died when he was still young. This unfortunate incident placed a heavy burden on his mother, who had to step up as the sole breadwinner for their household. She started selling food, mainly pineapples to nearby local schools to earn some income. However, with the limited number of clients, her earnings from this business venture was barely enough to cater for the family's basic needs and cover school fees for Prince and his siblings. With the looming challenges, life became extremely hard for Prince.

Life at home

Prince and his family live in a modest one bedroom house. The kitchen and latrine, however, are situated outside the main house. They have water and electricity. They all sleep in the single room which is partitioned at night. They do not have a playground and only have a chance to play football in the nearby stadium.

Prince, a determined young man, is currently in Form 1. He successfully completed his Class 8 education with an impressive score of 336 marks. However, his education journey was far from smooth, as he has often been sent home from school due to lack of school fees.

On a normal day, Prince woke up early, took a bath and prepared to go to school. He attended different classes and left in the afternoon. Upon arriving home, he took up house chores and also washed his school uniform. After fulfilling his daily responsibilities, he went to the field to play football with his friends, a game he was truly passionate about.


When school closed down during the covid-19 pandemic, life became unbearable for Prince and the entire family. Prince's mother found it increasingly difficult to generate enough income to sustain the family's basic needs. This led to Prince starting work in the quarry mines in Thika where he would earn approximately 0.89 Euros per day depending on the quantity of stones extracted. He would spend the money to buy food for the family. His brother and sister would accompany him as well. 

Every day, for one year, he would wake up by 8 am to go to the quarry. He would beat the stones in the quarry.  Sadly, due to the extremely poor conditions in the quarry, his health deteriorated. He would often get sick and cough profusely. In addition to that, he met bad people who would bully him and even forcefully  take the little money he earned. Seeing young children work alongside him really affected him. Sadly, he had no other alternative at the time and persevered through his hardships. “I felt hopeless and I did not want to work in the quarry. I just wanted to go to school and play football,” he said.


After the Covid-19 pandemic, Prince was finally able to resume school. He was playing football for the V-Kings team at the time. It was during his time back at school that he met the “Time to Play” project team. The “Time to Play" project, dedicated to providing opportunities for children to engage in sports and play, was distributing balls to the school's sports teams at that time. Prince was really excited and overjoyed that his team would have new balls to play with and was determined to seize every chance of playing the sport he loves most. 

After being identified by the ‘Time To Play’ project team, he feels lucky to have and enjoy his childhood life and happy moments with his friends. 

Thanks to the transformative "Time to Play" project, Prince has found a sense of joy and purpose in engaging in play activities, particularly through his beloved sport of football. By providing footballs to his school, the project has paved the way for Prince and his teammates to hone their skills, nurture their talent, and engage in friendly competitions. Prince hopes that the V-Kings team will participate in the National League in future.

Impactful change

The positive impact of the Time to Play project goes beyond the football field. Prince is no longer working in the quarry, he now dedicates most of his time to nurturing his talent. The Time to Play project team regularly monitors Prince’s progress in the play activities. The team monitors his growth, overall well being and development in play activities and provides him with the necessary support to help him thrive.

His daily routine now  involves waking up early, bathing and preparing to go to school. He studies different lessons and leaves in the afternoon. Upon arriving home, he supports his siblings by doing house chores and washes his uniform as well. Thereafter, he goes to the field to play football with his friends.

Prince's life has been transformed in a positive way. He is no longer working in the quarry where he would be exposed to health risks and experience bullying. He has been able to focus on nurturing his football skills. He is performing well in school. He is a determined, disciplined child and his football skills have improved significantly over time.

“Going to the quarry, I would get sick. Now I am not sick anymore and I am not struggling as much. Playing game has helped me interact with different persons with different experiences thus shaping my attitude towards life,” said  Prince enthusiastically. He added, “Now I am not idle. I get to play football and interact with other children. I also mentor youth and advise them to stay busy and find something to do that they love. I also tell them that using drugs can make them bad and addicted so they should avoid drugs completely.” 

A promising tomorrow

Prince feels happy that his life has now changed for the better, stating, “I feel good now. My life is okay now.” He enjoys playing football, riding bicycles and swimming and is passionate about his education. “I would like to finish secondary school and college. I want to start farming after college,” he said. “I would appreciate support with school fees and transport to go to school.”

Speaking about his aspirations, Prince says, “ In the future, I want to be a farmer.”

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