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The Orphan Games
The Orphan Games
Click here to see the project description

Photos Taken By: Jimmy Croona (


The Orphan Games initiative was created by Wheels Of Action (WOA) in an effort to encourage networking among local orphanages in Tanzania. Using competitive sports as a platform, WOA was able to organize an athletic competition for orphaned and vulnerable children in Tanzania and encourage networking among various children’s organizations by providing a sense of belonging within the orphan community; promoting healthy lifestyle habits; encouraging self-respect and respect of others; and facilitating in the development of lasting friendships.


The first Orphan Games event took place in Arusha on November 28th, 2009 for over 700 orphaned and vulnerable children.


Following the successful implementation of this first Orphan Games event in Tanzania, WOA intends to build upon this model and expand the concept to other under-developed countries.


The Orphan Games Outcomes & Achievements


  1. WOA demonstrated to orphans and street children that they are not alone, but members of a larger community by creating a family feeling amongst the orphanages and centers for street children.

  2. WOA sent a message to local street children that life in a care center is worthwhile and can provide them with their everyday needs, an education, and protect them from detrimental lifestyles. The event was an opportunity to show children who refused the help of care centers that these places are not only good for them but can be great places to grow up in a community of their peers.

  3. WOA honored the work of staff/volunteers of orphanages and centers for street children, while enabling the community to recognize these “local heroes” and thank them for their efforts.

  4. WOA raised community awareness that I hope will lead to increased public support for underprivileged children. The incorporation of local sponsors, organizers and volunteers in this event has encouraged more Tanzanians to become active participants in the betterment of their community.

  5. WOA established a network for Tanzanian childrens’ organizations that aims to enable them to better understand the situations being dealt with by other organizations in similar positions, and provide mutual support. WOA created synergy among local Tanzanian NGOs and charitable organizations while developing mutually beneficial partnerships (e.g. working with already established local NGOs).

  6. WOA inspired children to work towards the Olympic Dream©.

  7. WOA created a fun athletic competition for orphaned and street children, giving them the opportunity to meet children in similar circumstances and compete in a friendly environment. The event included musicians, performers and other entertainment which made it an exciting cultural event that encouraged community participation.



The first Orphan Games event was part of The Vodacom Foundation’s Care & Share Campaign for 2009. The event incorporated various well-known Olympic© disciplines, award ceremonies, and performances/social activities which created a memorable experience for everyone involved.




For The Children & The Communities:

The Orphan Games was created to honor and encourage children who are marginalized and abandoned. Healthy competition and a sense of sportsmanship provided the children a better outlook on life by instilling in them a sense of self-worth and of respect for others. WOA hoped to encourage children to see what it means to conduct their lives with discipline, self-respect and focus. By encouraging children to live positive, healthy lifestyles youth are able to grow into productive adults, thereby breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and disease (HIV/AIDS) that leads to generation after generation of children being abandoned.


The Orphan Games brought opportunities for children to experience various new athletic disciplines and sports.

  • By building community solidarity around orphaned youth, who are so often marginalized, integration and reintroduction into society will become more possible for these children.

  • By recognizing them and providing a status in society, we aimed to give these underprivileged children a chance to grow in a nurturing environment.

  • Using local sponsors, organizers and volunteers in this event will encouraged and motivated Tanzanians to better their communities.

  • The participation of foreign bodies such as WOA served only to assist the local community in attaining resources not readily available to them and draw international attention for an event that could easily be replicated and repeated annually.


The Orphan Games aimed to inspire orphans and street children to take a more active role in the planning and organizing of future Orphan Games events, thus enabling the creation of a platform where child participants in the games can eventually take over the Orphan Games and create future events. Through this initiative, Wheels Of Action will be able to hand over the management of the Orphan Games to empowered adults who once were the children this event was created to inspire.


Strengthening Olympic© Disciplines Internationally:

Introducing youth to athletic disciplines and sports that are not well established in the region is the first fundamental step to broadening underdeveloped nations' participation in more disciplines on the Olympic© scene.


Sponsor Benefits:

The Orphan Games proved to be an invaluable opportunity for the sponsor to expand its market share in Tanzania and internationally. By becoming the core sponsors of the Orphan Games it enabled long-term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) benefits by enhancing the competiveness the sponsor's services while maximizing sponsor's local community service initiatives.

  • The Orphan Games was an extension to our sponsor's Care & Share Campaign, allowing for more recognition on a global scale through Wheels Of Action.

  • WOA plans to duplicate The Orphan Games in other countries and will use the first sponsored event as both a promotional tool and a model for future events.

  • The International Olympic Committee will associate The Orphan Games as a successful method of promoting the Olympic Dream© in an effort to unite and inspire people across cultures to build a better future for themselves and the world they live in.

  • The sponsor had an opportunity to benefit from strong brand visibility through the association with a major cultural/musical and humanitarian event.


Special Sponsorship Opportunities


*Rising Athlete Fund was not established this time but in the future WOA aims to create with the assistance of local sponsors a fund that will provide an opportunity for highly talented, dedicated young athletes who have demonstrated outstanding skills at the Orphan Games with a chance to train and develop their athletic capabilities.

Wheels Of Action | 2010