One Love Tennis' Michael Ray Pallares (fourth from left) with youngsters in Rwanda Credit: One Love Tennis
[/media-credit] One Love Tennis’ Michael Ray Pallares (fourth from left) with youngsters in Rwanda Credit: One Love Tennis

One Love Tennis, a United States-based non-profit organization designed to reach underprivileged and low-income youth through affordable tennis, education and fitness completed a tour of East Africa.

Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Ethiopia were the countries visited following a previous visit to Zambia in 2016.

With the visit, One Love Tennis plans to establish a base in the East Africa region to develop tennis specifically to underprivileged youth.

One Love Tennis began the tour by hosting a “Play-Day” event for a group of 15 children from Hannah’s Orphans Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The event was held in collaboration with Senai, a non-profit organization that connects donors to support life-changing projects across Africa, working together with Hannah’s Orphans Home, a unique orphanage concept in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

[/media-credit] Michael Ray Pallares poses for a group photo after visiting Hannah’s Orphans Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Credit: One Love Tennis

Together they have taken in over 230 orphans off the streets of Ethiopia, most of which have tragically lost their parents to either the HIV/AIDS epidemic or imprisonment of their parents.

One Love Tennis next held an event for a group of 25 children from Mutasa Primary School located in the Highfield township of Harare, Zimbabwe.

The event was held at the historic Harare Sports Club in collaboration with the National Tennis Federation of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, and the Zimbabwe Sports & Recreation Commission.

One Love Tennis plans to continue to work closely with all organizations in order to help grow and develop an enabling environment for the delivery of quality sport and recreation programs that enhances participation by all.

One Love Tennis also visited the Rwanda Tennis Federation at the Stade National Amahoro in Kigali, Rwanda and hosted a training event for players and coaches alike the final weekend of the Genocide Memorial Tennis Tournament.

The event, held in collaboration with the Rwanda Tennis Federation, brought together ten of the top juniors in the nation who along with several national coaches had the opportunity to receive invaluable high performance training.

[/media-credit] Michael Ray Pallares donated tennis balls in the different countries he visited Credit: One Love Tennis

The foundation also donated 250 tennis balls to the federation for future training sessions.

Founded in 2011 by professional tennis player and International Tennis Federation Expert Coach Michael-Ray Pallares, the tennis initiative has so far traveled all over the world organizing events for underprivileged and low-income youth.

Speaking during the tour, Michael-Ray Pallares noted;

This was quite the experience for me.  The children were all very caring and interested to learn a new sport.  It was a very touching experience and I am looking forward to continue to promote the wonderful game of tennis to children in the East Africa region.

One Love Tennis plans to organize further exhibitions, Play-Day events along with the building of sport courts and donations of appropriately sized nets, racquets and balls so that the children can play tennis along with other sports all year around.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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