The history of the boxing club in the village of Novoluganske, Donetsk region, started with two pairs of boxing gloves, helmets and punching bags along with two months of wandering around the local authorities’ cabinets and gyms.
It also started with realization of the fact that most of the local children are brought up in single-parent families, often with no man in the family. The teenagers who are now a part of the boxing club had lacked confidence, ability to take responsibility for their actions and they had been missing a right man role model in their life. Alla and Alexander Shirshiny, missionaries serving in the town of Svitlodorsk, saw a great need for organizing such a sports initiative for the local boys.
“At first, because of the high rental fees, we could not find a good gym in Svitlodarsk, and it was right at that time that the Ukrainian army entered the village of Novoluganske, and we started serving the boys there. During our conversation with the village authorities, we mentioned our idea of starting a boxing club and we had a free gym on the same very day! “- recalls Alexander, who later became a boxing coach at the club.
Over 40 children, including girls, came for the first meeting of the club. Over the time, some children stopped attending and some new kids joined the club. With the growing number of children, the club’s needs in boxing equipment increased.
CBN-Emmanuel responded to the need and helped to buy more gloves, as well as make repairs in the gym!
Several other organizations jointed together to help the boxing club with the sports equipment – “Mercy Corps”, “Boxing Stuff” company and “Pope for Ukraine Initiative” (finances for repairing the gym)
In December of last year, Novoluganskoye village was subjected to heavy shelling resulting in over 50 damaged buildings in the village. At school, most of the windows were damaged, while the gym suffered only some minor damages. However, the club had to be stopped for certain time due to safety reasons. Meanwhile, children kept calling their coach Alexander requesting to renew club’s meeting.
A few weeks later, and the boxing club was working again! For children, it has also become a part of their psychological rehabilitation!
The guys’ abilities are developing and they already participate in friendly training sessions at the boxing school in the town of Bakhmut. Some of the children are preparing for competitions and are already showing some good results!
The club members have long dreamed of getting a real boxing ring and they were looking for opportunities to acquire it. And now, thanks to CBN-Emmanuel”, their dream came true – a new boxing ring (over $2,000 of value) was purchased for the boxing club in Novoluhanske.
Now the guys have their own boxing ring, which they even installed by themselves!
Boxing at this club is not just about sports. It also involves long talks about the meaning of life, about the right principles, about relationships, about development in all spheres, and about God. In a frontline town with frequent explosions, alcohol and drugs abuse, this club gives them understanding that there are possibilities to live differently, set high goals and achieve them, take responsibility for their present and future. The guys are becoming increasingly confident. And, who knows, maybe there are future champions among them!
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