• Rohingya Refugees and UN SDGs

    Over 900,000 Rohingya refugees are now living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This is 3x bigger than any other refugee camp in the world.  Starting last year, renewed violence including reports of rape, murder, and arson forced nearly all the Rohingya people living in the Rakhine state of Myanmar to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and instantly fracturing their society.

    Imagine all the people living in Austin, Texas fleeing en masse with no possessions, money, or communication – with family & friends permanently separated… or worse.

    The UNHCR has taken the monumental task to lead the care for this population, including feeding, housing, and other basic needs. But these services only address so much. Refugees are coming from an instantly fractured society and arriving at a place where they might not know anyone.  Many have been permanently separated from families, neighbors, and friends.  Individuals, especially children, single women, the elderly, and the disabled are at increased vulnerability to suffer additional harm. It is here that other organizations, oftentimes NGOs, look to work with the UNHCR to provide vital services including Community Based Protection.

    Coaches Across Continents, supported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), have started a 6-month pilot program to use football to create Community Based Protection.  Our program is using football to rebuild that fabric of society, and those networks, so that people are able to care for their families, their new neighbors, and each other – so that everyone is better supported and better protected, and therefore at reduced risk for experiencing additional harm.

    Our On-Field interview with Adam Nord (UNHCR Community Based Protection) explains this concept further in this 3+ minute video.

    “I see that this program… is a very important part of this as well.  It’s about using a very strong community-based approach to train new young refugee coaches who are then going to go back into their community to work with and to support other youth / other individuals in a way that engages and strengthens those society ties.  That’s complimented within CAC’s trainings on child protection, violence, and other issues, allows them then to engage through sports… in discussing those issues that are affecting their communities”

    “It’s an excellent example of a community based approach”     – Adam Nord, UNHCR Child Protection

    Over the course of the 6-month pilot supported by the AFC, Coaches Across Continents has trained 75 local Rohingya refugees to become soccer coaches across 25 different camps/districts within Cox’s Bazar. Equipment has been provided by the AFC and BFF so that they can engage boys and girls in their community on a weekly basis, and begin to impact some of the 500,000 children under the age of 17 living in the camps.  Throughout the year the newly minted coaches will receive communication, mentoring, and support from the BFF and CAC.  The 6-month pilot will culminate with a Football Fun Festival in May, 2019, with an eye towards continuing and expanding this program as funding allows.

    To support or learn more about this initiative, please contact CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at

  • Beginning in Bangladesh

    December 10, 2018.  Dhaka, Bangladesh.  This past week we implemented programming through our partnership with the Asian Football Confederation.  We are in Dhaka, the capital of the 8thmost populous country in the world.  In addition to the AFC, we are also working with the Bangladesh Football Federation and the Jaago Foundation (UNSDG17: Partnerships for the Goals).   Our work will benefit thousands of underprivileged children throughout Bangladesh by empowering Jaago volunteers to use CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom methodology and curriculum.

    We believe, football (sports) is the one of the most powerful tools to bring a positive impact for any nation. This is something, which represents youth, energy & friendship all together. – Jaago Foundation

    With a strong background in classroom education and extracurricular activities for disadvantaged children, the Jaago Foundation is a natural partner.  42 volunteers came to Dhaka from across the country, and we implemented a curriculum that will address UNSDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being and UNSDG #4: Quality Education; while also implementing a strong program to address Safeguarding Children in Sport.  This is especially relevant, especially after our global work last month for Universal Children’s Day.

    “I am a passionate traveler, I often go to rural areas in Bangladesh to teach tribal children. They don’t speak Bengali but through football I connect. Now, I can teach them health and lifestyle through CAC games as football is a global language.” – Rafat (Kazi): Jaago, Dhaka.

    Stay tuned next week as our AFC/BFF partnership will bring us into the world’s largest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, home of over 900,000 refugees including half a million children under the age of 17.