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The Beyond Sport Summit, held this week in London, is an initiative promoting the use of sport for positive social change amongst young people globally. Awards were presented to particularly successful projects and I would like to draw attention to two winners that I found especially inspiring.
The Girls Kick It Project in Northern Uganda won the Sport for Social Exclusion Award. This scheme is based in an area with a history of civil war, violence and gender inequality where many women and girls have been abducted and forced into sex work by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Girl Kick It provides crucial hope and opportunities for girls living in displaced persons camps and empowers them through the use of football to address issues of HIV AIDs, nutrition and peace building. Football has enabled the girls to grow in confidence and team building as well as economic opportunities through management and maintenance of poultry houses.
The Amandla EduFootball Project on the other hand uses football to tackle social inequality and violence in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town. This slum is home to extremely high murder and assault rates and young people can easily slip into dangerous lifestyles. The Amandla scheme enables girls and boys to access a safe hub where they can gain support from strong role models. The football league run by the project is also based upon a points based system to encourage positive behaviour and build self-esteem both on and off the pitch. These two schemes alone help show how important sport can be for young people young people to become educated, make friends and create brighter futures. Congratulations Girls Kick It and Amandla!
I would love to hear how sport has helped you to overcome challenges in your own lives.