From Living Healthy to Meeting the World

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The idea of this book was born from the many formal and informal talks that I had with Agnes Samaria as we discussed her role as a UNICEF Namibia National Goodwill Ambassador. Listening to Agnes sharing her thoughts and background on how she became one of Africa’s best female athletes was so motivating that we wanted to ensure that all young Namibians could hear her story and be just as inspired. Agnes’ story is unique: not only did she strive for and achieve athletic glory, but also success at school and in the workplace. In UNICEF we recognise that just like the right to a quality education, all children also have the right to sport and to play sport and games. This right is detailed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the child, which 193 countries have ratified, including Namibia. However, sport is not just a right, but is essential for physical, mental, psychological and social development of children and adolescents. Like most young Namibians, Agnes grew up playing traditional games. This was when the seed of wanting to compete and do her very best at school and in sport was planted. Sport helped Agnes to understand her own identity and those of others. It taught her discipline, respect, friendship, fair play, and the coping skills to overcome challenges, resist peer pressure, make healthy lifestyle choices and to ultimately develop into a caring and dedicated leader in Namibian society. In telling her story, Agnes is sharing the values she adopted and lessons she learnt in order to be a winner in life and on the track. She stresses the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and challenges all young Namibians not to be disillusioned by loss or setbacks but to dream and continually strive to succeed. We hope you enjoy reading this book. Ian MacLeod Representative UNICEF Namibia (2008-2011)

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