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Vakacegu acknowledges the positive impact of Basketball For Good

This article is part of Stories of Change, a series of articles interviewing volunteer coaches and participants involved with Basketball For Good Programs in the Pacific.

Suva (Fiji) - Basketball Fiji's partnership with Homes For Hope has provided opportunities for the Federation to reach out and provide Basketball For Good programs for women in Fiji.

According to its website, Homes of Hope is an organization that provides long-term care, support, and holistic restoration for girls and young mothers and their children. Their goal is to create a culture of freedom in Fiji and the South Pacific.

Susana Vakacegu, one of the social workers of Homes of Hope, shared her experience with the Basketball For Good (B4G) programs of Basketball Fiji.

"I have just recently started at the Home and am always around the women that stay here and learning about their experiences and the struggles they have been through they do not have a lot of reason to be happy," she said.

"When they participate in the activities prepared by the coaches which includes drills, rules, and also 3x3, I can see that they are having fun and are happy while learning health tips for their family," she added.

Inset Photo: Susana Vakacegu

Vakacegu, who organizes activities for the women from Homes of Hope, was the point person for Basketball Fiji to help develop their women's empowerment program. The 28-year old intimated that the B4G programs give the participants a welcome activity to socialize and learn about living a healthy lifestyle.

"The program gives them an escape from the routine courses. It's great to hear the laughter and fun the women have during the sessions while learning health messages that they can use for themselves and their children. Basketball is also a therapy that can help these girls vent out their emotions and whatever they're going through in that particular time.," Vakacegu said.

"Basketball For Fiji taught our girls about "defense" in a way to defend your self from the opponent in order for you to take your goal. I'm glad that they were taught about this because "defense" is not only for the opponent but also to protect them," she added.

The Suva native passionately shared her qualms about violence against women, hence her involvement with Homes of Hope. Vakacegu noted because of this partnership she is keen to learn more about basketball.

"I am a person who is against violence, especially when used on women and that is a reason I chose to be a social worker and to help where ever I can," she said.

"Watching the sport of basketball and the fun that comes with playing it, I am keen to learn the sport and hopefully participate in tournaments in the future," she ended.

The Hoops for Health program under the Basketball For Good strategy of Basketball Fiji is supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Sports Partnerships, and FIBA's Foundation, the International Basketball Foundation.