Causes Week 2021: Inculcating values through netball

Causes Week, which is into its 10th iteration, runs this year from Dec 21 to 25. It shines a light on various individuals and groups, and shows how they are making a difference through their chosen causes within the community, for children and youth, in sports and arts, among others.

For Causes Week 2021. Siti Hajar Haron (in blue top), 51, Fatin Nurdiyana (in purple top), 23, two netball coaches from Netball Singapore, conducting a free netball programme for the Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls on Dec 1, 2021.
Netball Singapore coaches (from left) Fatin Nurdiyana and Siti Hajar Haron conducting a free netball programme for the Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls, on Dec 1, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Having played netball as a co-curricular activity in secondary school, Jane (not her real name) knows how fun the sport can be, and has missed it since she graduated two years ago.

So when it was introduced as one of the year-end activities for residents of the Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls - where she stays - last month, she was thrilled.

She said: "I was really excited. I like it because it's a participatory sport and I like to move my feet.

"We have to learn about teamwork and communication. In sport, we also go through hardship together. Some of them (the other residents) don't know the sport so I try to teach them when I can."

The netball programme, sponsored by global pre-school group Babilou Family, was organised by Netball Singapore (NS) which provided coaches and equipment such as balls, bibs and netball poles.

The first session took place on Nov 8 and sessions were supposed to take place only once a week.

But after the first session, Pertapis' management received requests for more training sessions and the frequency was upped to twice a week.

The coaches, Ms Siti Hajar Haron and Ms Fatin Nurdiyana, spoke about the progress made by the trainees.

Ms Fatin, 23, said: "Now they're coming on time. Even before we reach, they have already started their warm-up. Some always ask when they can play the game as they really like it."

Ms Siti, 51, added: "There's satisfaction when you see their progress... We don't just teach them netball skills, we also teach them discipline, respect and patience."

The coaches also intend to recommend students who want to continue pursuing netball beyond these sessions to suitable clubs.

Deputy head of the centre, Ms Sarah Sulaiman, said the 40 participants aged 13 to 19 have benefited from the netball sessions as they got to learn while exercising.

During the sessions, she noticed older girls coaching their juniors and others rallying the group to complete a difficult drill together.

Ms Sarah, 27, said: "It's nice to see them motivating and encouraging each other. It teaches them discipline and keeps them meaningfully engaged. Sport also builds emotional resilience and teamwork.

"The girls spend 80 per cent of their time together so it's important to bring them together through sport."

The coaches intend to recommend students who want to continue pursuing netball beyond these sessions to suitable clubs. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The programme will run for a year, with sessions held twice a week during the school holidays, but Ms Sarah hopes sessions can be held once a fortnight during the school term and that they can continue beyond a year.

Mr Matthias Koh, vice-president and head of business development at Babilou Family Asia, said: "We provided a donation to NS as we are a strong believer of the benefits of sports for children.

"We believe netball as a sporting programme can help the students to become more engaged in society, have a healthier outlook of life and it also strengthens mental and physical resilience."

NS president Jessica Tan thanked Babilou for its support. She said: "It has been a joy to us to see how much the girls enjoy playing the sport and how excited they have been about their netball classes."

The Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls offers shelter, care and protection to 100 women from 14 to 21 years old, with programmes to help develop confidence and life skills.

You can donate to Pertapis by visiting its website.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.