Commonwealth Point of Light 42. Ursula Matzopoulos
Ursula Matzopoulos, representing Namibia, is a former primary school teacher who leads an after-school club in Katutura called ‘Physically Active Youth.’
The club focuses on using educational games to improve the literacy and maths skills of local children from disadvantaged backgrounds, whilst also improving their health and fitness through BMX riding, football, swimming and basketball. Since 2015 Ursula has led the organisation’s extra-curricular tutoring, helping over 150 pupils aged 12-13 to achieve twice the national average pass rate for end of year exams. She also encourages young people to continue their education, with 80% of children from the programme enrolling in secondary school compared to the national average of 54%.
The award for Ursula Matzopoulos was presented on 27th March at the ‘Physically Active Youth’ centre by Kate Airey, UK High Commissioner in Namibia.
Ursula Matzopoulos said:
“It’s wonderful to receive this award, not for myself but to get recognition for all the amazing volunteers at ‘Physically Active Youth (PAY)’ who give so much of themselves to make sure the children get a better start in life. It’s not always easy and we rely on the kindness of so many people and organisations to keep ‘PAY’ going. So this is a huge thank you to all of them.”
Kate Airey, UK High Commissioner in Namibia, said:
“I’m delighted that Ursula is receiving this award. The amount of effort she puts in to ensuring these children get a good meal, the creativity with which she approaches the extra-curricular work, the team she has created and the impact she has is
phenomenal. I hope this award means the work ‘PAY’ does reaches a wider audience and they can carry on making the enormous difference to the lives of children in Katutura.”