This is an awesome story – but it doesn’t start out that way.
Last year we told you about the Ugandan Little League team that was the first ever African team to earn its way into the Little League World Series; and how they were denied visas to enter the USA. The Ugandan team, from the city of Kampala, could not obtain entry when birth records for some of the team members were deemed unacceptable.
Despite pressure from the media and little league officials, the state department stood by its decision and the team was could not compete in the tournament.
The young players from Uganda, who are between eleven and twelve, were obviously devastated by the turn of events, but they will get to try their hand against some of the best little league players in the world soon.
Tonight, the Langley Little Leaguers, who were scheduled to play first against the Ugandan team in last year’s World Series, are flying to East Africa to begin a weeklong series of games against the slighted team. And that’s not all. Thanks to the work of Ruth Hoffman, a Vancouver-based mother of three who read about the story in the NY Times, Right to Play, and countless donors, the Langley, BC based little league team will be bringing with them new sporting equipment and shoes, money to build and upgrade baseball diamonds throughout the region, and thousands of dollars in scholarships for the Ugandan players.
It’s an awesome chapter in a story that seemed to have a sad ending.
However, the story is not over and we can still help! Right to Play has already raised over $135,000 for the project, but they are still hoping to raise $20,000 more by the time the tournament starts on January 15th. So CLICK HERE to make a donation and be a part of changing kid’s lives.
ESPN has done a great job of covering this story and last year they posted this video about the team, by documentary maker Jay Shapiro. If you’ve got five minutes, watch it. I promise it’s worth your time: