• All the Happiness Around Me is Worth Living For

    October 3rd, 2017. Community Impact Coach and Founder of Coaches Across Continents Community Partner Sparky Football, Tejas, writes about his time in Atambua, Indonesia with partner Increase Foundation and the Bintang Timur Football School.

    Our time in Bali was blissful. Every day at the field I could see the lovely kites flying in the mighty blue sky while it shared many reflections from the ocean close to us.
    As I wished goodbye to these kites and my new friends from the Bali program, I hoped to cherish something similar in Atambua with Bintang Timur- know as ‘East star’ in Bahasa!

    The small flight to Atambua gave me a rollercoaster ride. I experienced turbulence close to 30 minutes from the 1 hour flight journey. I even remember the woman who seeked air sickness bag in the flight- it was a rollercoaster in its own way!

    Atambua was very hot and dull as I looked outside the car. My location on the GPS muddled my thoughts and I said to myself, “I am very far from India”. I regained my sense of belonging when I arrived at the Bintang Timur academy- I saw a huge football field and a futsal pitch surrounded with many mountains. Alma, our coordinator from the program showed us the academy with a small tour. In the evening, I had the opportunity to share some of my freestyle football skills with children also got to play 11-aside football with them. After Sun went behind the mountains Emily, Frans, Alma and I sat down at the dining table to plan for the day one on-field.

    The Government head arrived an hour late delaying the morning session and some more with his speech. He said a lot about becoming the best football coaches but nothing he knew of the program being football for social impact. We turned that frustration into motivation for running the best social impact program possible. There were about 50 coaches, 4 soldiers and 5 Government officials in the hall. The session kicked off at 10am with Circle of Friends and all the coaches carried great energy in the intense heat. They celebrated ’ole ole’ and ‘mingle mingle’ for a long time but games like Marta for conflict resolution, know your rights, old Trafford tag were thought provoking.

    Alma was a great host; late in the evening he took us to eat corn. He has charming Italian accent for English. He spoke 8 languages including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and some local. He was raised in Atambua, where once he was forced to be a church priest but escaped from the situation to be a university professor. The night at the dinner me, Emily and Alma shared our thoughts on the idea of religion and I was pleased to know that we all were to lean on the same belief that higher spirit is same for all and we share the same air, Sun, moon, water, star and things like that. This was some thought provoking to me in a way.

    On the second day, participants addressed their local social issues such as alcohol abuse, gambling, trafficking, stealing etc. Emily, Frans and I took responsibilities to adapt CAC games to help them solve/tackle these problems. I strongly believed that we three were a good team. Frans spoke less English but tried his best to participate in our off filed meets. He also supports us and takes responsibility in times like photography, airport check in, finding a taxi or a hotel. Emily and I call him ‘dad’ often for that. He always laughs at it!
    Some of the games which we chose to address their social issues were Gazza support system, Indonesia for choice, Say no to trafficking and Emily’s new dice game- it’s a cool one!

    By the third day, participants continued to sing mingle mingle as nasi nasi (rice) has their humming song. There was laughter everywhere and the expression of wisdom from the after game talks. The ambition to learn and to make a difference was quite evident. I see them has the change makers, very few of them spoke English but they listened to us, smiled often and participate with their entire being in the heat. While English didn’t help them much as a language they instead took pictures with us- a lot. I have heard somewhere that “We can’t build a society purely on interests but we need a sense of belonging” and I think this is what I found in here.

    After a intense three day coaching program, Alma had planned to take us and the academy staff to a picnic on the mountains which was a 2 hour drive from the academy. We went with the academy minivan and a car. The roads were slushy, curvy and hilly but the drive was very thrilling. As we reached the location, we could see the wide mountain plains and with a small hike, we were able to identify the border of the country, East Timor. The place was wide and beautiful. Everyone was excited and took a lot of pictures together. Surprisingly the staff had carried lunch for 20 people. We all housed under a tree and feasted the delicious food with the beautiful Mountain View.
    After we were back, we played some more football with children in the evening and settled for the next day’s agenda which was to visit two schools from which teachers participated in the program.

    In the morning, we visited Don Bosco and SMP Negsi School. The purpose of the visit was to meet the School head, watch the sport teachers implement the games with children and if they needed any help with it. They did a good job on coaching. As the sport teachers introduced us to children, Emily, Frans and I had the privilege to share our journey and the importance of education outside classroom. It was motivating to have us say this to them. I also took the privilege to showcase some of my freestyle football skills to give them a new perspective on football learning. I received some great response and cheer for this!

    The week was very tiring, however the sense of satisfaction to keep up the week productive and to make an impact in the Atambua community is a fulfilment.

    At the end of the day, I recapitulate the week in my mind- my heart fills up with all the sincere laughter and joy participants shared on the pitch. Sometimes, I miss being a kid and that little happiness from the PE classes in school.
    As we grow up things change, we change and start to like that way.
    My personal reflection is to love what I do every day and to be grateful for all the happiness around me that is worth living and fighting for.

    TERIMA KASIH (Thank You)

  • Walang Iwanan (Leave no one) Hua!

     September 29th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Prateek, writes about the experience provided by Coaches Across Continents during his week in Manila, Philippines with Gawad Kalinga. 

    After a much needed break in Bohol, Charlie and I were back at Manila for a week long on-field session with Gawad Kalinga. The training was supported by the city mayor and the local department of education, the majority of the participants were community coaches of GK and public school teachers from the Manila area. Since none of the coaches had experienced the CAC training before, it was exciting to work with Charlie in delivering the sessions. I remember the first time I took part in the CAC training, during my first day I was a bit skeptical about the training, but on the second day I was convinced that the sports for social impact methodology would be very beneficial for our communities. Likewise, I got to see that awe in the face of the participants as the trainings proceeded.

    The traffic in Manila was one of the worst that I have notice, nonetheless we managed to be on time every morning.The training was held at indoor basketball court, where there were around 35 participants. The training was a bit different from the first two weeks as there were a mix groups of teachers and coaches that attended. After every training Kevin our host in Manila would treat us to the best food that Manila could offer.

    One of the highlights during this programme was talking to Coach June, who had travelled from a conflict stricken province of Marawi, hearing his story of his work inspired me on how sports can be used to bring communities together. He was working with rebels and law enforcers using sports to manage the conflict in his city. After getting familiar with the CAC games, Coach June was full of enthusiasm on applying the games with his children in his hometown. He has planned an event which would include games from CAC to be played at his hometown.

    During my three weeks of stay in Philippines, I have really enhanced my coaching skills. This was my first time coaching a group of adults and even more exciting my first time coaching in a foreign country. My confidence level has grown enormously. I really want to thank CAC and specifically thank Charlie for this wonderful opportunity. I now can go back home and start training the teachers and youth coach on being self-directed coaches.

  • Knowledge and Gratitude

    August 10th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Elvis Nshimba, writes about the experience Coaches Across Continents gave him to work on-field with CAC partner training4changeS

    Our two weeks in northern South Africa, in a village called Bennde Mutale which bordered Zimbabwe and Mozambique, were spent working with and creating impacts alongside community members and leaders. From there, we spent two wonderful weeks in Cape Town. The first week we played games with coaches, teachers and community members and through those games educated them on how to use sport for social impact. At the end of this week, the participants were able to coach and adapt games on their own!

    My last week was the most beautiful! We worked with students in different schools, which allowed me as a teacher, to acquire another experience learning from others. We worked with the local coaches of training4changeS to strengthen their capacities to educate and create social change for their pupils through sport.

    Because of this trip with Coaches Across Continents, I was able to see the ocean for the first time! It was a great pleasure! I enjoyed my stay in this part of the country, although it was extremely cold. Because of this opportunity to travel with CAC I was able to learn a lot, including realizing the differences between people. I would like to express my gratitude to Coaches Across Continents (CAC) for aligning me on this trip, and to my organization the Malaika Foundation (MALAIKA) for supporting me during my time working away.

  • Conservation and Education

    July 21, 2017. CAC Global Citizen Nicole Slevin wrote about our first year with World Parks, World Cup in Bende-Mutale, South Africa.

    This week we partnered with World Parks, World Cup in Bende-Mutale located in the far NE corner of South Africa, bordering Zimbabwe & Mozambique. WPWC’s goal is to bring together the communities that surround the Great Limpopo National Park, in these neighboring countries, establishing open communication and support with groups that might not otherwise connect. They have the opportunity to build and share resources, with the Coaches Across Continents curriculum as a common link, between the coaches, teachers, community leaders and the children in these villages. It is a great vision and we were excited to be involved from the beginning!

    This was my first week being a Global Citizen with CAC, and my first week ever visiting South Africa! No one could have promised me or prepared me for such a rich experience. I don’t think I have ever learned so much in such a short window of time. Every day is filled with new learning opportunities, genuine unique human interactions, and little moments of gratitude and magic. Along with the beauty of the sunsets, the vastness of the trees in the bush & the varying animals that keep you company at night. It’s hard not to fall in love with South Africa and the remarkable experience of working with CAC. 

    I quickly learned this is a complex program, coaching in and of itself is hard! Being a good and effective coach takes practice and clear intentions. CAC’s curriculum does so much, by providing Self-Directed Learning techniques to the coaches, so that when the program is over the lessons and social impact topics still continue being discussed. It’s a mixture of teaching effective coaching practices, dependable football skills, setting up an environment for social impact discussions, and providing guidance on how coaches and leaders can use these in their own environments. With a few daily life lessons to go along in that mix. It’s a lot! But I’ll say it again  – I’ve never learned so much in just one week. 

    There were many memorable moments during the week – of course, watching the games implemented with kids running around barefoot and happy. I could be a part of that everyday! But there were also many moments with the coaches in the program, when good discussions were had after a game or when they provided positive feedback that the program was going to help change how they coached or taught at the schools. They were extremely grateful and without asking, it was clear that we had made a difference. That’s a feeling I want to always remember.  I felt lucky to work with such amazing, engaged people. 

    Elvis, the CIC traveling with us from the Democratic Republic of Congo said tonight – “I didn’t know what good volunteering could do for me, until I worked with CAC. Then I realized that doing something for someone else, without expecting something in return – it can bring peace, even in the mind.” 

    As we drive away in the early morning, headed to Zimbabwe, Charlie plays Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to say goodbye”.  And we can leave smiling, knowing we did good work with the people of WPWC in Bende-Mutale.

  • My Return to Kenya

    July 11th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Salim Blanden, writes about his experience working in Migori with Youth Empowerment through Sport, also known as YES Kenya.

    24th June 2017, on a sunny Saturday, my journey from Kampala to Kenya began. On the bus along with me was my colleague and first time ever Community Impact Coach, Nicholus Achimpota from Tanzania. I was so excited to learn I was going to spend the next five weeks on field with Nico. This would be my return to Kenya after running the first program in 2015 in Mbita, Homa Bay with Boychild Agenda.

    On the bus however, we missed our team leader from the USA, Mark Gabriel because of weakness due to a sickness. Mark stayed in Kampala and would travel the following day.

    Our on-field training with Youth Empowerment through Sports (YES) in Migori started immediately on Monday morning with about 30 participants from Migori, and some others from neighboring areas around Migori County.

    Due to Mark’s absence on-field, it was very clear myself and Nico would run the program on our own. This was therefore the first ever Community Impact Coach ran program. A participant said, “I enjoyed this program so much because I really see myself in you.” This showed the value and power of having a CIC led program. The experience was great because we managed to take charge and everyone believed in us. Mark also motivated and encouraged us throughout the whole week.

    This was an example that local coaches (Community Impact Coaches) can make an impact and run programs in different areas, independently and bring about positive social change in communities where they work.

    It was evident there was an impact created because of the cooperation of the participants. Especially with games reflecting gender equity, communication and fun, there was a message that CAC games and participants would continue bringing about positive change even when CAC has left the local area.

    The excitement I got from slaughtering chickens for our lunch on two separate occasions and the confidence I gained from running the program as only a CIC, made me forget the cold night we spent in Kisumu Town Roads before we traveled to Migori one early morning. This taught me a lesson in life, to never stop moving despite the different challenges on the road!

  • Experiencia con CAC

    April 26, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Lina Restrepo, shares thoughts about the first On-Field training of our Nike and Postobón partnership in Bogotá, Colombia – this one with Colombianitos in Ciudad Bolívar. Lina has participated in CAC programs for several years as part of our partnership with Inder Medellín.

    En ciudad bolívar se resaltan frecuentemente historias de violencias a través de los medios, vías de comunicación que reproducen constantemente mensajes cargados de estereotipos con adolescentes, delincuentes, abuso de sustancias, hurtos, discapacidad cognitiva, entre otros; y compartir con personas de Bogotá, Francia, Inglaterra, estados unidos y Medellín en este lugar, me hace vivenciar diversidad cultural, componente necesario para la reconstrucción del tejido social en Colombia y en diferentes lugares del mundo con una situación similar.

    En algunos momentos llega la pregunta ¿Qué tiene Colombia, que se hace invisible para los colombianos y tan llamativo para los extranjeros? En esta primera experiencia en un hostal, compartí el cuarto con una persona que venía desde Holanda a trabajar como voluntaria por tres meses para estudiar las aguas del Lago Tota, el cual mencionaba como un recurso fundamental del ecosistema no sólo para Colombia sino para el planeta entero.

    Este es un ejemplo del interés en el territorio colombiano de personas de otros lugares que reconocen en nosotros cualidades y potencialidades que por momentos dejamos de ver y vienen a recordárnoslo.

    Dentro de las personas participantes al entrenamiento resalto los entrenadores (con experiencia en el fútbol profesional colombiano) y deportistas (jóvenes y adultos, líderes de cambio de diferentes fundaciones en Colombia, que hacen uso del deporte y la recreación como herramienta de transformación social.

    Una de las preguntas que movilizó a la imaginación y la creatividad dentro del grupo de líderes, ¿Es posible jugar un partido de fútbol sin balón? En especial para los entrenadores que a veces se quedan en metodologías tradicionales. (95% Fútbol 😊)

    Agradezco a CAC los espacios de Juegos y Diálogos alrededor de conceptos de equidad, igualdad, género, cultura, fenómenos, violencias, problemas, problemáticas entre otros. Se amplía pues, la caja de herramientas al recibir los currículos de CAC y ASK for choice con una variedad de juegos por compartir.

    Experience with CAC – Bogota, Colombia 2017 

    In Ciudad Bolívar stories of violence frequently emerge through the media, manners of communication that constantly reproduce messages charged with stereotypes about adolescents, delincuants, substance abuse, theft, mental disability, among others; and to share with people in Bogotá, France, England, USA, and Medellín in this place, allows me to experience cultural diversity, a necessary component for the reconstruction of the social fabric in Colombia and in different places in the world with a similar situation.

    In some moments the question arrives: What is it about Colombia that makes it invisible to Colombians and so attractive to foreigners? In this first experience in a hostel, I shared the room with a person who came from Holland to work as a volunteer for three months to study the waters of Lake Tota, that which was mentioned as a fundamental resource of the ecosystem not only for Colombia but for the entire planet.

    This is an example of the interest in the Colombian territory of people from other places that recognize in us qualities and potential that we, at times, stop seeing and they come to remind us.

    Among the participating people in the training were coaches (with experience in Colombian professional football) and sports people (youth and adults); leaders of change from different foundations in Colombia that make use of sport and recreation as a tool for social transformation.

    One of the questions that mobilized the imagination and creativity within the group of leaders was: “Is it possible to play a game of football without a ball?” Especially for the coaches that sometimes rely on traditional methodologies. (In reference to CAC’s 95% Football)

    I am grateful to CAC for the spaces of games and dialogue around concepts of equity, equality, gender, culture, phenomenons, violence, problems, and issues, among others. The toolbox expands upon receiving the CAC and ASK for Choice curricula with the variety of games to share.