Handball is not just a game, it’s a way of life. This statement holds true for the Kavallieri handball team, who have been inspiring young children in Malta to get more involved in physical activity. With only one 30-minute PE session per week in school, the team’s additional 30 minutes of handball after school and 2-hour training on Fridays is the only chance for many of these children to get any physical activity in a week.
The lack of physical education in schools is a serious concern for the health and wellbeing of the children on the island. Childhood obesity rates in Malta are among the highest in Europe, and sedentary lifestyles are a major contributing factor. However, the Kavallieri team is doing their part to make a difference. Their efforts are paying off, as the girls on the team are getting four times more physical activity than their peers. This is a great achievement, but there is still work to be done to ensure that children receive the recommended minimum of one hour of physical activity daily.
However, the benefits of handball go beyond just physical health. Emotional, social, and behavioral health are all important factors in overall wellbeing, and handball can help promote positive changes in these areas as well. The Kavallieri team also provides nutritional education through an EU solidarity project, ensuring that the children are learning about the importance of a well-balanced diet.
It’s not just the physical and health benefits that make handball so special, it’s the sense of community and belonging that it creates. The Kavallieri team is like a second family to the children, with happy faces and positive attitudes all around. The mixed group of 10, 15, and 17-year-old girls and boys all come together to train and play, creating meaningful connections and forming strong social networks.
Dr. Stephanie, the coach’s partner in crime, is also a valuable addition to the team. As a young MD, she shares her passion for handball with the girls twice a week, running from the hospital to make it to practice. This kind of dedication is what makes the Kavallieri team so special, and it’s no wonder that the children are thriving under their care.
A big thank you goes out to Gudja Primary School for supporting the Kavallieri handball team. Without their support, this kind of positive impact on the children’s lives would not be possible. If you’re in Malta and looking for a way to get more involved in physical activity and community building, consider joining the Kavallieri team. One, two, three Kavallieri! And remember, handball is not just a game, it’s a way of life.
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