Humbled by the women she met, Victoria Beckham tells of the extraordinary strength and courage she found in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, as she visited inspiring projects aided by Sport Relief. Victoria, a supporter of Comic Relief and Sport Relief for over a decade, shares her diary exclusively in HELLO!, which reveals how money raised makes a real difference for people living in unbelievably difficult circumstances…
It's the rainy season and the slum is a giant moving mudbath. The tiny alleyways and paths that run between the temporary sheet metal houses are almost impossible to navigate, slipping and sliding as you pass herds of goats and stray dogs looking for food in the piles of rubbish. It's Sunday and despite the most impoverished of environments, church music and singing floods out of almost every doorway.
On our first day, we head out to Korogocho to meet the project workers involved with Boxgirls, a fabulously inspiring organisation funded by Sport Relief and Red Nose Day USA that uses the power of sport to transform the futures of countless youngsters.
We meet Grace, a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being an engineer. Her friends who sit with us want to be an artist, a doctor and a lawyer. The house is merely one room: no running water nor electricity, no kitchen nor bathroom, just one room.
As we talk, it becomes obvious these are happy, positive, confident girls who don't care about new trainers or iPhones, only the hope of going to school, working hard and getting good grades so they can go to university and follow their dreams.
I'm in awe of their ambition and drive and when later I witness the Boxgirls project in action, I immediately see where that formidable attitude comes from. It encourages girls to learn about their rights, develop skills, self-belief and find a voice to speak out and influence change in their own community. It truly is Boxgirl power!
We leave Grace's home and head into the maze of corrugated roofs to the local community hall. A church service has just finished, chairs are being moved and a punchbag is strung from an old creaky rafter for the session to begin.
The atmosphere is incredible and the energy contagious as the room fills up with girls of all ages and soon I find myself in the middle of the room being given boxing tips by Sarah, one of the excellent trainers. I’m pretty useless, but so inspired by the feeling of empowerment within this amazing group of girls.
Women in these communities struggle to secure the rights and opportunities they need and face daily battles against sexual violence and physical abuse. Projects such as Boxgirls can make a huge difference to their futures, where they are educated and supported and empowered to push for better futures for themselves and their community.
As day one comes to an end, I can’t wait to call home, to say goodnight to my children, doing my best to best explain to my six-year-old daughter Harper what I’ve been doing today.
To read the full diary, pick up the latest copy of HELLO! magazine out Monday 26 March.
To find out how you can make a donation, visit sportrelief.com.