• The Right to Purposeful Play in Malawi

    CAC Global Citizen Libbie Randolph writes about her final week with CAC in Lilongwe, Malawi.
    In Chichewa, the local language in Lilongwe, Malawi, Kusewera means ‘to play.’ I could not think of a more fitting name for the partner organization that we worked with in Malawi this week. Every afternoon around 2pm, the sounds of children laughing, swinging, running, and bouncing balls filled Kusewera Village. In addition to the visible joy that the facilities brought to these children, our on-field sessions and off-field discussions proved how dedicated the Kusewera team is to advocating for children’s right to play and learning through #EducationOutsideoftheClassroom. During our week-long program, we focused primarily on UNSDG 4, Quality Education, and UNSDG 5, Gender Equality, as well as child rights. On-field, many of the 35 games that we played sparked discussions about how we, as coaches and educators, can advocate for and protect children’s rights in our community, such as the right to play. We also played games that lead to conversations about how empowering women and girls in the community and the workplace benefits not only women, but the whole society. By the end of the week, the participants were all enthusiastic about using the CAC curriculum and games to implement #PurposefulPlay in Kusewera programming for the local community.
    I could not have asked for a better program to conclude my time as a Global Citizen with CAC. Although I wish I had more time, I’m leaving Malawi having learned so much from the Kusewera educators and the community. From teaching us songs and dances to sharing nsima with us during lunchtime, the Kuswera community has been more than welcoming from the moment we arrived. Despite it being the first time that CAC has partnered with Kusewera, the discussions that we had assured me that the educators prioritize the children in their community. The statement, “Change starts with us,” was repeated often throughout the week, and it is very apparent that the educators and coaches believe that. At the end of the week, the local program leader, Jordan, thanked us and said, “Before working with CAC, we would just provide the balls and equipment for the children to play. Now, we are more aware and prepared as educators to participate in the play and make it more meaningful.” To me, that statement captures the essence of what CAC strives for through the goals of #EducationOutsideoftheClassroom and #PurposefulPlay.”
  • CAC Delivers Purposeful Play in Paris Refugee Centers during the Women’s World Cup

    July 11, 2019. CAC’s Nora Dooley writes from Lyon, France where she watched USA vs. England in the World Cup semifinals after finishing On-Field trainings for CAC partners in Paris.

    Six years of working with Coaches Across Continents and our incredible partners have given me the most unimaginable (at least to my adolescent brain!) education in empathy. From mid-May to mid-June I traveled from Brazil to México to Colombia to the USA to Tanzania and landed in France just in time for the most important football event in the world.

    I list these travels not to boast my privilege nor shame my environmental footprint, but rather to share facts about the access that I have to the world because of the circumstances of my birth. Access granted to some people, denied to more people, and likely never even to be pursued by most people.

    Then I think about the humans I shared space with in Paris for 8 days of Purposeful Play trainings with CAC partners who serve refugee and displaced communities across the city. Long-time partner, Fútbol Más France, and new partner, Kabubu, run different types of programs for refugees and migrants from dozens of countries including Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Congo, Romania, Angola, Eritrea, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Tibet, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and others who are living in mostly short-term refugee centers in the south of the city. Fútbol Más runs weekly sports sessions for girls and boys of all ages as well as separate sessions for adult women and men. Their unique challenges include communication across language barriers, gender inequalities arriving from different cultures, and building an adaptable set of activities that can be used in different contexts and especially as participants come and go from the short-term establishments. CAC supports Fútbol Más and now Kabubu to integrate Purposeful Play methodology into their sessions to address these challenges and more intentionally educate and empower using play-based activities.

    Through this work in Paris – and generally with CAC – I have shared and played with humans with stories I will never be able to fully understand, histories that bounced them across borders and oceans in search of safe, welcoming homes. I think about them as I bounce around this world searching for something else, while finding a humbling fulfillment in knowing that people from perhaps the most challenging, conflict-ridden circumstances find joy, safety and identity through CAC games.

  • Saeta’s Haitian Legacy

    April 1st 2019. Coaches Across Continents is delighted to announce a new Corporate Legacy partnership with Colombian company Saeta Internacional Sports Wear SAS who manufacture and distribute the Haiti national football team jersey. Starting April 1st 2019 Saeta will contribute a portion of every Haiti official football team jersey sold to CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom work in Haiti. In 6 years we have educated 875 Haitian coaches helping them provide Purposeful Play to over 35,000 at-risk youth across the country.
     

    Now when you purchase a premium Haiti official team shirt you will also know you are improving the lives of children in the country. To buy your shirt today go to this link- https://saetasport.com/tienda/fanshop/haiti. Coming soon to Amazon!

    Coaches Across Continents se complace en anunciar una nueva asociación con la compañía colombiana Saeta Internacional Sport Wear SAS, que fabrica y distribuye la camiseta del equipo nacional de fútbol de Haití. A partir del 1 de abril de 2019, Saeta aportará una parte de cada venta de la camiseta oficial del equipo de fútbol de Haití al trabajo comunitario de CAC en Haití. En 6 años, CAC ha educado a 875 entrenadores haitianos, apoyándoles a generar espacios del ‘Juego con Propósito’ y ‘Educación Fuera del Aula’ a más de 35,000 jóvenes alrededor del país.

    Ahora, cuando compre una camiseta oficial del equipo de Haití, también sabrá que está mejorando la vida de las niñas y los niños en el país. Para comprar su camiseta hoy, vaya a este enlace: https://saetasport.com/tienda/fanshop/haiti. ¡Próximamente en Amazon!

    About Saeta Internacional Sport Wear SAS

    Saeta Internacional Sport Wear is a Colombian company that operates its business in the textile sector, in the manufacture, import and export of sportswear and accessories. Since 1982 they have manufactured and partnered with professional clubs across Colombia including Santa Fe, Cucuta Deportivo, Valledupar, and Choco Unido C.F. They have manufactured the Haitian national team jersey since 2013 and recently signed a new 4 year contract with the association.

    About Coaches Across Continents (CAC)

    CAC Design, Develop, and Implement Cause Marketing & CSR initiatives that provide corporations and foundations with sustainable social development programs. We engage employees, enhance global brand reputation, and create return on investment. We have delivered initiatives addressing the UN SDG’s in 23 countries with: Chevrolet, Nike, Standard Chartered Bank, AFC, MJYL, ESPN, Bloomberg, & more.
  • Empowering Leaders Globally

    March 22, 2019.  CAC has helped to develop and empower 22,000+ community leaders over the past decade.  Our investment in creating leaders goes far beyond our On-Field Purposeful Play: Creating Education Outside the Classroom trainings.   Professional Development is a key component of our strategy, which is best highlighted through three of our year-round strategic resources: Global Networking, Community Impact Coach Initiative, and Global Leadership Courses.  Engaging in our year-round strategic resources is necessary for to be accredited by CAC in Purposeful Play.

    Global Networking: Recently we invited five local leaders from CAC’s network from Jordan, Lebanon, and India to join Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at the EMPOWER Conference in Doha, Qatar.  They assisted in delivering two workshops and one On-Field coaching education in Purposeful Play to some of the 650 participants attending the conference from 50 countries.  The focus of the conference was the role of youth as agents and catalysts for peace and dialogue for sustainable development.  The full CAC team was Chief Exec Brian and SDL Educator Jamie Tomkinson, along with Benny Marcus (Parikrma Foundation, India), Tejas Ramakrishna (Sparky Football, India), Jaspreet Kaur (YFC Rurka Kalan, India), Rose Abou Elias (Arcenciel, Lebanon), and Wala’a Abu Shihab (Reclaim Childhood, Jordan). The team was recognized for their efforts on stage by the EMPOWER Conference at the conclusion of the event.  CAC continues to look for professional development opportunities, like this conference, to benefit the most promising leaders in our network.

    Global Leadership Courses: CAC currently is an implementing partner with the MJYL Program that just accepted it’s fourth class of leaders.  CAC is instrumental in assisting Michael Johnson in selecting promising young leaders from around the world and developing them over the course of the year both at Michael’s high performance training center in Dallas as well as throughout the year through CAC’s 28 year-round strategic resources as they implement their own legacy projects to impact their communities.  In fact, one former MJYL, Jamie Tomkinson, recently joined the CAC senior staff full-time based on his growth and development over the past several years.  CAC is exploring being able to provide other similar initiatives to give even more opportunities like this one to promising leaders on a continental and global scale.

    Community Impact Coach Initiative: Our CIC Initiative is the most widely known strategic resource that CAC offers to promising leaders each year.  We provide opportunities for coaches in 25+ countries to join and travel with the CAC staff each year as we deliver Purposeful Play On-Field Education in other communities.  This provides for intense professional development and learning, cultural exchange between individuals and communities, and giving our host communities multiple voices and perspectives to implementing Purposeful Play.  For many CICs, this is the first time they have flown on an airplane, traveled internationally, or even seen parts of their own countries.

    Investment: CAC already invests a great deal in leaders to implement Purposeful Play and impact communities and countries around the world.  With a strong corporate or foundation partner – our efforts could be magnified immensely.  And for just a small individual donation, you can empower a young leader globally which will benefit the hundreds and thousands of children they work with directly and through their community organization. #WhatsYourLegacy?

  • More Than a Football Pitch

    December 20th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio blogs from Nagpur, India about our On-Field week with longtime partner and inaugural FIFA Diversity Award winner Slum Soccer. 

    Upon leaving the airport in Nagpur, India you encounter what I, based on my limited experience in India, call “classic India”. Unfinished roads overpopulated with honking vehicles, massive cows snacking on mounds of trash, and a musty air that fills your nose with an undesirable stench. While this “classic India” of mine is certainly not a fair representation, after a week in the overcrowded chaos of New Delhi, these are the things you become accustomed to. Therefore, I was quite relieved when we drove past the industrial madness of Nagpur into the rural are of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is a small town that, upon first glance, lacks any distinctive features. There is one long, bumpy road that runs through the village flanked by a combination of small food stalls, large cows, underdeveloped homes, and small tents which sit on a ground of dust and rocks. So, you can only imagine our surprise when we first encountered the turf field that sits in the middle of this underdeveloped region. This field, surrounded on all sides by a large chain linked fence, belonged to Slum Soccer, the partner that Coaches Across Continents was set to work with that week. While I didn’t know this at the moment, this 30 x 60 piece of turf is way more than just a football pitch. 

    Slum Soccer was started around ten years ago by a university professor named Vijay Barse, who we were fortunate enough to meet. After watching kids play soccer with a broken bucket in the slums, he was inspired to set up a tournament for them so they could enjoy competition in a more formal setting. As time went on, this tournament turned into weekend sessions for the local community. Today, Slum Soccer provides educational/healthcare workshops, societal developmental programs, coaching camps, and the pure joy of a place to play football to nearly 70,000 men, women, and children across 63 districts in India. This meteoric rise from a fun football tournament for a few to an empowering resource for thousands can best be summarized in the stories of the people who work for Slum Soccer. 

    One such person is a young man named Homkant from Northern India. As a child, he grew up during the heat of the ongoing tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups in India and Pakistam. Amidst the tensions and dangers of the violence that plagued the region, Homkant was pressured to join the Hindu side. Caught between attacks on Islamic holy sites and the defense of his own sacred temples, he called this period of his life the “darkest chapter”. In the face of problems in his own home and with the local police, he left everything behind to start a new life in Nagpur. However, this “new life” was far from lucrative. He spent one year living on the streets before picking up a job at a local tea stall. This is when Slum Soccer stepped in. Without passing any judgment, the individuals in Slum Soccer found Homkant and provided with a home, three meals a day, and an opportunity to learn and build within the beautiful game. The pinnacle of this experience was being selected to represent India in the Homeless World Cup. Following these life changing moments, he has now dedicated himself full time to the organization. He is constantly running trainings and educational programs, recruits players for the Homeless World Cup and is looked up to like a big brother by the others in Slum Soccer who have also been helped off the streets. 

    Across Slum Soccer, you can find many stories similar to that of Homkant. Stories of struggle, strife, and a rebirth supported by the strong arms of Slum Soccer. However, the members of the organization are far from content. The minute we arrived they were proposing new challenges in order to take sport for development to a new level. Early on we decided that over the course of the week, we would take a step forward and teach games that would cover very intense issues such as menstruation. In many parts of rural India, there is little to no knowledge about the process of menstruation. In extreme cases, this means that women on their period are barred from entering the household because of fears that their menstrual blood will contaminate the food, water, plants, and other items in the home. Generally isolated in a shelter without food, water, and access to proper hygienic materials, thousands of young women die per year because of these myths. Additionally, 23 million women per year are forced drop out of school because of their period. Many of the women that we worked with in our time at Slum Soccer shared stories about how the lack of educational materials regarding menstruation has resulted in terrible consequences for themselves, loved ones, and other women. United under the leadership of full time CAC Coach Ashlyn, we worked to develop a number of games that teach women about the truths of menstruation through sport. Given Slum Soccer’s wide reach, we are hopeful that this will have a positive impact on many women’s lives. 

    In my four months with CAC, I’ve found that in many cases, despite all of the hard work put in on-field, you don’t quite know if sport for development will ever fully “catch-on” and have the positive impacts that you are hoping for. However, upon the completion of the week with Slum Soccer, I felt supremely confident that our partnership would have a positive impact on many lives. This confidence was fueled by the fruitful discussions, ambitious leaders, and inspirational stories that I was fortunate to come across throughout the week. While at first, the little turf field in Maharashtra just seemed like a nice place to play, I now know that the field itself is only a smart part of Slum Soccer’s commitment to forgiveness, education, opportunity and creating a home to those like Homkant who were forced to leave everything behind. I can’t wait to see the results of CAC and Slum Soccer’s partnership in the coming years. 

  • Mining Communities Meet the ‘Venice of the East’

    December 19th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Moritz Guertler discusses our week in Udaipur, India with The Football Link and Hindustan Zinc.

    Reflecting on our week in Rajasthan, I first need to enthuse over Udaipur – the city of lakes – or how some also refer to as the Venice of India. Please make sure to spend a couple of days in Udaipur when in this part of the world, it is full of culture, beautiful views, and palaces! Surrounded by hills and mountains, Udaipur lays within clear and clean lakes. After the city was founded in the 16th century, the ruler at that time increased the size of Pichola Lake by flooding the Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. A bit radical to upgrade your summer residence to say the least… Other than that Udaipur still has all the characteristics of an Indian city with cows blocking the traffic, continuous honking as well as the vibrant and busy buzz of daily life.

    For our program in Udaipur, Rajasthan we have been working together with The Football Link (TFL), the strategy and implementation partner of Hindustan Zinc’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative Zinc Football. Our team was well surprised about the all-new and state of the art football facilities located one hour outside of Udaipur right in the middle of Hindustan Zinc’s mining township. The idea behind TFL is to use the power of football for social development in Zinc’s mining communities. Together with TFL’s coaches we worked to lay ground towards a curriculum especially designed for boys and girls to play together outside any competitive environment. Focus topics for this week were social inclusion, gender equality, health & wellness, discipline, and – most importantly – a safe space for the kids to be themselves and have fun. Together with CAC’s flexible curriculum we adapted some games accordingly in order to tackle these aims, specifically.

    I deeply wish TFL all the best and success for the years to come. Together with Hindustan Zinc’s resources, the great and hard-working staff of TFL, and the passionate as well as energetic coaches the future looks bright for the youth in Hindustan Zinc’s mining communities.