4 May 2017

streetfootballworld network member Spirit of Soccer hosted a unique workshop about how to keep children safe from weapons of war by using the power of sport. In the last week of April, 35 female soccer coaches from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Colombia gathered to take part in a training session to find out how football, the world's favourite sport, can bring life-saving educational messages to children living in conflict zones. The workshop received support from the US Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

 

According to the United Nations, 11 children are killed every day by landmines and unexploded bombs from past and current wars. Founded in Bosnia in 1996, Spirit of Soccer uses a unique curriculum that incorporates soccer games and drills with education on how to recognize and avoid landmines, unexploded bombs and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW).

 

"This workshop has been good for me. I learnt new skills, like understanding how to work with landmine victims and met people from many countries. This will help me with my work with Spirit of Soccer because I now have new skills to teach my children,” said Kunthea, 23, who is employed by Spirit of Soccer as a full-time soccer and Mine Risk Education coach in Cambodia.

 

This was the third edition of the workshop, which places a special emphasis on empowering female soccer coaches so they can reach more girls and young women with the Spirit of Soccer message. This year the workshop was expanded to include female coaches from Iraq and Colombia.

 

"This workshop has given me more experience in coaching and Mine Risk Education. I’ve learned from people how they tackle the same issue in Vietnam and Laos. It feels like one big family here” said Payman, a 43-year-old coach from Spirit of Soccer’s program in Kirkuk, Iraq where she teaches children displaced by ISIL about the dangers they will face when they finally return home.

 

“It’s important to place a special focus on female coaches” said Spirit of Soccer Founder and CEO Scott Lee. “We know that many times it's the women in a household who have the most influence on the behavior of their kids. By empowering women like this we want to make sure that as many children as possible hear the message that could be the difference between life and death.”  

 

You can find information and the official press release here: