I am Maylin Chang and I have been part of the Just Play Programme for 2 months visiting schools and communities to assist teachers and volunteers in delivering the Just Play fun based activities with messages to children around the Suva and Lami area.
Before being a part of the Just Play Programme, I was obese and also I had no confidence. This made it hard for me to interact with people which led me into having a low self-esteem.
After hearing about this program from a friend named Felisha Dandelion Pickering who was part of a Japanese exchange program, I became interested in how this program delivered messages through fun activities in each sessions. It was an eye opening opportunity, when I was able to sit and listen at a discussion.
It was at that moment that my curiosity grew and I wanted to know more. It also shows how through this program, children are given the joy of learning and how to stay healthy and protect themselves through football.
The program has changed my life observing boys and girls in different schools in their arguments with each other about the games based on gender. But after a few sessions I could see that through Just Play the students have changed their views and have accepted gender equality and respect.
The atmosphere of excitement when they see us in school, on the buses and in town and they are so excited to see us even if there is no session going on.
This has changed my life perception that through hard work and a little boost of confidence you can inspire children through small activities.
Now, I feel very happy, healthy, so confident and blessed to be part of Just Play Program.The most significant change I have had in the programme I would say my weight was 90kg and I’ve lost 10kg in 4 weeks. I’ve seen that through each session I’ve learned more about staying healthy. Through this program I’ve seen that each game shows a message and information.
My life would have been different if I didn’t join the program, because I could have suffered from obesity and no confidence. I would have locked myself away from the world and wouldn’t have found the confidence to face life. I wouldn’t have found some inspiration to take up child care in the future.
To all my peers and children around Fiji remember this two quotes.
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try”
“While we try to teach children all about life, children teaches us what life is all about”.
Thank you to Fiji Football Association, the Oceania Football Confederation and the Just Play Programme and all its partners including the Australian Government, New Zealand Government, UEFA Foundation for Children, Football Federation of Australia and UNICEF for not only improving children’s lives in Fiji, but also changing my life as a volunteer.